NJ Sen. O’Scanlon: ‘Before I’m done, we will have self-serve gas!’
The push to pump our own gas in New Jersey got some traction when a bipartisan and bi-gender bill was introduced earlier this month. It was then that Sen. Declan O'Scanlon came on my show and gave us an over/under of 6 months before we would be pumping our own gas.
And then the pump was yanked from our hands by Senate President Nicholas Scutari who says he does not support it. We're not backing down and neither is Senator O'Scanlon, who you may remember was instrumental in getting rid of the red-light cameras. The senator called into my New Jersey 101.5 show, you can listen to the full conversation On-Demand starting @ 09:55
Are we going to stand for this?
"Hell no Steve, we're not going to stand by for this. People told we for a long time, we're not going to get self-serve fuel. We are going to overcome this hurdle as well."
How did O'Scanlon feel when he heard about Scutari's rejection?
"I think Nick Scutari's a good guy. As much as I'm giving him some grief over this pre-mature and erroneous pronouncement. He is a good guy, he also left the door open for more discussion."
As for the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll
"This poll question was a disaster" says O'Scanlon. "They may as well have asked people, would you rather pay your dinner bill or have someone else pay your dinner bill? It was a dumb question. Do you want to pump your own gas or have someone else pump it?"
"We don't really care what you choose, what we want is a choice for everyone and that is what this bill does, provides a choice. If you want to have someone else pump your own gas, you shouldn't give a damn whether I'm going to pump mine. Don't worry about it.”
What about jobs?
"The jobs killing aspect is ridiculous. 49 other states have self-serve and they have at or lower unemployment rates than we do. Also, if you talk to station owners, and they can't find people to pump gas. If you're in a gas station line and there are orange cones at the pumps, it is not because those pumps are out of order, its because they can't find anyone to pump those pumps."
Did Senate President Scutari know about the self-serve bill?
"He knows about the bill," Says O'Scanlon. "We haven't introduced it yet in the Senate because we're waiting on some Democrat sponsor. Even when we pass this bill, New Jersey will have the most stringent mandates for full serve in the nation. So even when we pass it, 60-80% of the stations will still maintain because they have to or because they want to full serve. 60% of them because they have to and another 10-20% because they will want to."
What about the people who don't believe they'll save money?
"There will have to be savings," says O'Scanlon. "Costs will go down and profits will go up because they'll pump more because they won't have closed pumps. Just the competition itself which is fierce in this industry will drive prices down somewhat. Is it the 15 cents per gallon for self-serve that the industry is planning, who knows? Who cares? The convenience itself, the time saving itself is worth it."
And the safety issue?
"Forty-nine other states are not setting themselves on fire so in order for that to ring true, you'd have to argue that New Jerseyans are more flammable than people in other states.”
O'Scanlon goes onto say that "Jersey girls are hotter than anywhere else but they are not more flammable.”
So about that over/under
"Our odds went down for now but in the long run, 100% take it to the bank, before I'm done serving the Legislature, we will have self-serve gas."
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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