I've read conflicting reports online so I'm hoping someone can clear up my confusion.

  • Fascinating question! I'm just curious: do you really prefer to pump your own gas (perhaps you drive a classic car, say) or, were you just curious??
    – Fattie
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 1:36
  • @JoeBlow I prefer to pump my own because that's what I grew up (in GA) with and it allows me to top off a little more. I asked because I am traveling through there with my parents and wanted to make sure that we didn't offend or do something incorrectly
    – BDD
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 1:52
  • got it ! its funny in italy they have both options, self-serve or the-guy-comes-and-does-it. it costs a little more on the latter lane.
    – Fattie
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 3:51
  • 1
    In New Jersey they don't pump gas, they pump fists! <Insert obnoxious Jersey Shore fist pump here>
    – Greg
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 13:00
  • 1
    @Bakuriu The poster's expression is a common one. mentalfloss.com/article/18812/…
    – Calchas
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 13:48

4 Answers 4


I have lived in NJ (currently living in NYC) for several years and I can confirm that it's not legal to pump your own gas.

Pull your car at the gas station and someone will attend to you.

  • 1
    It would be great of you could reference an authoritative source.
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 22:25
  • 3
    Seriously? That's so weird! I've lived in Montana, Texas, and Colorado, and never once seen a gas station attendant. Do you have any reason why it's different in NJ? Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 4:31
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    This is also the law in Oregon, but as far as I know, none of the other 48. fortune.com/2015/05/18/new-jersey-gas-pump Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 6:44
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    They do enforce. I have had a gas attendant yell at me and threaten to call the cops when I decided to pump it on my own. Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 16:57
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    @ElliotGorokhovsky "and never once seen a gas station attendant." Because you're young. Up through the 1970s, full serve was the only serve.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 21:16

This appears to be an item in the current news. From the Courier-Post about a month ago:

TRENTON — New Jersey lawmakers are reigniting a debate about self-service gas just in time for drivers to fuel up as they return from their Memorial Day weekends.

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the country that ban drivers from pumping their own gas and instead require station attendants to do it.

Last week lawmakers restarted the debate over self-serve gas, and while a key lawmaker in the Democrat-led Legislature put the brakes on any new legislation, the debate will continue behind the scenes, lawmakers say.

So, while it continues to be illegal for customers to pump their own gas in New Jersey at this time, that may be set to change at some point in the future, if the state legislature decides to do so.

  • 2
    How do the statistics for cars spontaneously exploding while refueling vary across the states? Is there a marked reduction in NJ and OR? This sounds more like a law that was lobbied for by the Union of Gas Pump Attendants in nineteen-canteen... Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 7:56
  • @OwenBoyle Does that even happen often enough for there to be statistics? I've never heard of anyone's car catching fire (let alone exploding, which is nearly impossible outside of Hollywood sets) while fueling.
    – reirab
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 9:11
  • reigniting, hahaha, well... I wonder if gas pumps that suck the fumes back in are still the minority in the US... @reirab: have a look at youtube, you find tons of videos where people catch fire, usually on stations only that do not suck in the fumes (or where that system failed).
    – PlasmaHH
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 10:54
  • In the UK I can't remember even hearing about anyone having their car filled for them. It's a wonder any petrol stations have survived the constant explosions caused by untrained people attempting to perform such a complicated task. (Seriously, I suspect this is a "protect the jobs" thing, right?)
    – bye
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 12:11
  • @Alex Yes, it almost certainly is. "Full service" stations where an attendant pumped the gas used to be common in the U.S. many decades ago, but they're quite rare nowadays. The only times I can ever recall personally going to one were in the Philippines (where they still appear to be common.)
    – reirab
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 13:16

The Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act (N.J.S.A. 34:3A-4 et seq.) and Regulations (N.J.A.C. 12:196) mandates that no person dispense fuel at a gasoline station, unless that person is an attendant who has received fuel dispensing instructions. The Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act also ensures compliance with appropriate safety procedures, the prohibition of the self service of gasoline and other inflammable liquids, and the installation of safety signs and equipment to enhance safety at retail gasoline stations.

  • 34:3A-6. Dispensing of fuel; regulations

It shall be unlawful for any attendant to:

a. Dispense fuel into the tank of a motor vehicle while the vehicle's engine is in operation;

b. Dispense fuel into any portable container not in compliance with regulations adopted pursuant to section 8 of this act;

c. Dispense fuel while smoking; or

d. Permit any person who is not an attendant to dispense fuel into the tank of a motor vehicle or any container.


In New Jersey you can’t pump your own gas anywhere, attendants will be available. It's not been legal. New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states you can’t pump gas on own. There is some discussion going on now to ease restrictions there.

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