June 30, 2022

Botu Linum

The Car & Automotive Devotees

New Jersey gas stations offer lower prices for 1 day to show potential savings with self-serve option

3 min read

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Dozens of gas stations in New Jersey dropped their prices Friday in a campaign supporting a switch to self-serve stations in the Garden State.

Advocates argue it would help curb inflation in a state where drivers aren’t allowed to pump their own gas, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported.

Seventy-five gas station owners, members of the Fuel Your Way NJ coalition, temporarily dropped their fuel prices.

Regular was reduced from $4.59 to $4.44 at an Exxon on Jersey Avenue in Jersey City.

“We estimate the savings to be a minimum of 10 cents, but we have members that tell us the cost on every gallon could be as high as more than 20 cents,” said Sal Risalvato, who heads up Fuel Your Way NJ. 

Some drivers were all for it.

“It’s a good deal, a very good deal,” one person said.

“They should do it if people can do it, why not do it,” said another.

Others didn’t buy in.

“I don’t think 15 cents is a big difference. If it was more than 15 cents, maybe 50 cents, $1. For that amount, let them pump our gas,” another person said.

“Why don’t we actually fix the problem?” said another.

According to AAA, New Jersey gas prices are at a record high: $4.50 per gallon of regular. The national average is almost $4.42.

Soaring costs are blamed on the global pandemic and an oil crisis.

“Combination of everything. Russian attack on Ukraine did not help. Russian oil was about 10% in the global market. We don’t have access to that because of sanctions,” said Kashmir Gill of Gill Energy. 

New Jersey is one of two states where drivers cannot legally pump gas themselves. In February, members of the State Assembly introduced legislation to change that with the goal of curbing inflation.

“The way it trickles down to consumer is, yes, we would be able employ less people at the pumps,” Risalvato said.

But consumers worry about what that means for those currently working as attendants.

“I could pump my own gas, but I like to see people working in New Jersey,” said Michael Mentuck of Bridgewater. “I would just like to see the guy have his job.”

“I like it better they pump for me,” Nathaniel Hugee said. “It’s jobs, they get paid to do that.”

Gas station owners said a change would not eliminate jobs. They said they’re already struggling to find people to fill those positions.

“There’s a big shortage of labor,” Gill said. “Gas station owner, I have to compete with Amazon, McDonald’s, who’s paying $18, $19.”

A recent poll by Rutgers-Eagleton shows 73 percent of residents say they prefer having their gas pumped for them. Only 22 percent said they’d welcome doing it themselves.   

“We wouldn’t know how to pump your own gas, just because we’re so used to it being done for us,” one person said. 

“It’s a good thing for a gas owner, because he’s suffering right now,” said Allem Khawaja.  

“I would pump it,” Ringwood resident Gary Foy told CBS2. “No doubt about it. It’s just, these prices are absolutely nuts.”

CLICK HERE for more information on Fuel Your Way NJ.

CLICK HERE for a list of participating gas stations from NJ.com.