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Long Island Town May Finally Give Gas Station Owners Option Of Having Self-Service Pumps

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A ban on self-service gas stations in our area may be running on empty.

A Long Island town that has long been an outlier is proposing a law that would give gasoline stations the option of having self-serve pumps, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported Wednesday.

It may be surprising, but right now the only places in America that mandate full-service pumps are New Jersey, parts of Oregon, and Huntington, N.Y.

"It would be up to the actual owner of the gas station whether or not they want to allow self serve," Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said of the legislation. "Every gas station would still be required to have some full serve."

FLASHBACK: Report: New Jersey Self-Service Gas Bill Gaining Momentum

Service station manager Cezmi Dereliogla said he hopes Huntington keeps the status quo. When asked if he fears jobs will be lost if self-service pumps are put in.

"Yes, ma'am. We are all full service," he said. "We help people. We care about people."

Gas Pump
(credit: CBS2)

Full-serve gasoline stations tend to be pricier. The Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association is pushing for change.

"In surrounding towns you can see a difference of 20 cents or more, so I think it'll be a nice benefit for the consumer," the association's Kevin Beyer said.

Yet some groups still favor full serve.

"Specifically elderly or disabled," said motorist Jordan Shapiro. "Someone closer to my age could probably get away with pumping their own gas."

Customers and retailers say this proposal gives consumers a choice, which may allow customers to save money, because full-service stations usually need more employees.

"I tend to go summer, I'll do it myself. In winter, I have the guys do it," Jamie Forster said.

"It's cold outside right now, so this is the perfect time for anybody to pump my gas," resident Thomas Reid added.

The ban in Huntington has been in place since the 1970s when the gas crisis hit, with huge lines creating skimming and theft. Safety concerns have loomed since.

"There are the dangers from the fumes," said AAA Northeast's Robert Sinclair. "Somebody could be smoking, somebody could be using a cellphone, somebody could leave the nozzle in the fuel filler and drive off. So there are a lot of things you have to worry about when you are pumping gasoline yourself. You are isolated from those things when someone is doing it for you."

A public hearing on self serve versus full serve is scheduled to take place at Huntington Town Hall on Dec. 17, and heated debate is expected.


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