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Assemblyman Proposes Self-Service Gas Stations In New Jersey

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Big changes could be in store for New Jersey drivers, who might be stuck pumping their own gas if some lawmakers get their way.

Full service is now the law at New Jersey gas stations, but that could become a thing of the past, CBS2's Ilana Gold reported.

"I don't mind doing it myself," said Emre Ataman of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.

"It doesn't bother me when I travel to pump my own gas," said Joe Parlagreco of Jersey City.

But as WCBS 880's Jim Smith reported, for drivers born and raised in New Jersey, pumping your own gas is a foreign concept.

"I really don't know what to do. I hate when you go to those states where they let you pump your own and you're standing there like an idiot saying how do you do this," said one Jersey driver.

Assemblyman Proposes Self-Service Gas Stations In New Jersey

"No, never want to pump my gas – ever," added Carolyn Antunn of Jersey City. "In fact, I tried it for the first time a month ago in New York. I hated it."

"There's no reason for it," said John Okoye of Secaucus. "One of the best things about New Jersey is that you don't have to pump your own gas."

But state Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon (R-Red Bank) is among a bi-partisan group leading the effort to end the ban on self-serve. He said convenience is one aspect.

"It really irks me when I pull into a gas station and have to wait," O'Scanlon said.

Backers also said self-service would be cheaper.

The proposal would not do away with full service altogether. Under the proposal, gas stations would have to keep at least one full-service island for three years.

Then in terms of pricing and staffing: "The market ought to decide these things, not government," O'Scanlon said.

The proposal would also require gas stations to put up safety signs for customers.

But gas station attendants told CBS2's Gold they did not like the idea at all.

"This is not good for us," said Waquar Zaman, an attendant at a Gulf station in Jersey City who now fears for his job. "We are living on this job – my house earning; I am earning from this job."

But O'Scanlon said he is not trying to eliminate jobs, and said full service will still be offered if there is demand for it.

"We've got to move with the times, and the time has time for New Jersey to make this transition," he said.

Still, it is a transition many simply are not willing to make

"Jersey girls don't pump gas, and we want to keep it that way," said Susan Burns of Lebanon, New Jersey.

The state Senate just started looking at the bill on Friday. If it passes a vote in both houses and Gov. Chris Christie signs it into law, it could go into effect by the end of the year.

New Jersey and Oregon are the only states where it is illegal to pump your own gas.

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