A change in Oregon Fueling Rules has lifted the state’s 64-year ban on self-serve fueling in certain parts of the state. As of January 1, 2016, stations in any Oregon county with a population of 40,000 people or fewer are allowed to offer self-serve fueling between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. This includes 18 counties, most of which are in the central and eastern part of the state. This new rule is meant to help Oregonians and people traveling through rural counties who need to have access to fuel after normal business hours. Many people have been stranded in remote parts of the state after running low or completely out of gas and not having anywhere to refuel until morning.
Oregon has had a ban on self-serve fueling since 1951. The law was meant to keep the public from handling “Class 1 flammable fuels” as well as protecting people, particularly the elderly, from injury or exposure to Oregon’s sometimes harsh weather.
If you are a gas station/convenience store owner considering the switch to self-serve, there are a few things to consider. First, it may require new equipment. This may mean new pumps that can handle the after-hours, self-serve transactions. Second, you need to make sure that an emergency stop is accessible to the public. As required by the 2014 Oregon Fire Code 2308.7, emergency stops must be no more than 100 feet away and no less than 20 feet from the pumps. Third, you want to make sure that emergency contact information is clearly and prominently posted for customers to see.
Regardless of whether your facility is staffed or unstaffed, having trained UST operators is still important. When a customer calls you in the middle of the night for help with an emergency situation at an unstaffed facility, you need to know what to do.