Under a law that went into effect this week, Oregon counties with fewer than 40,000 residents no longer must abide by the state law requiring attendants to pump fuel at gas stations.
Pumping gas. It’s simple, right?
You drive up to the gas station. You get out. You pick regular or premium. You squeeze the handle. And then — you leave! (Ideally, after paying.) To most American adults, it’s as familiar a ritual as getting out of bed.
Not to Oregonians.
For decades, they have been banned by state law from pumping their own fuel at gas stations, a throwback to the days when it was universal for gas-station attendants to fill Americans’ tanks. Today, Oregon is one of only two states — New Jersey is the other — where gas-station employees are still generally required to do the pumping.
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But on Monday, a new state law went into effect that carved out a broader exception for counties with fewer than 40,000 residents.
Now, drivers in those counties can pump their own gas without having to go through the ritual of waiting for an attendant to come to their vehicles to take their fuel orders.
The new rule comes three years after the state allowed people in those same rural counties to pump gas between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. — to reduce the chances of getting stuck at gas stations without employees on duty overnight.
So let’s be real: In the grand scheme of things, this is a small rule change that doesn’t affect a huge number of people.
And yet, in the even grander scheme of things — in the fun-house-mirror realm of social media and viral news — the new law has ignited mockery and indignation over the mere idea of Oregonians attempting to transfer gasoline into their gasoline-powered conveyances.
First came the cherry-picked reactions from a handful of Oregonians, which went viral for their sheer naiveté.
“Do you think Oregon should allow self-serve gas stations statewide?” a Medford TV station asked its followers on Facebook.
“I don’t even know HOW to pump gas and I am 62, native Oregonian,” one Facebook user wrote back. “I say NO THANKS! I don’t want to smell like gasoline!” More than 1,000 other users “liked” the comment.
Then came the jokes from non-Oregonians.
“Live shot of Oregon residents attempting to pump their own gas,” wrote one Twitter user, posting a gif from the movie “Zoolander,” in which carefree male models…