Re: Reason 23 why i love living here

Seth Golub (
Sun, 8 Nov 1998 23:42:14 -0800 (PST)

Nelson Minar <> wrote:

> It's really nice to have someone else pump your gas for you, actually

Yeah but when I pump my own gas, I don't forget to replace the gas cap
when I'm done. Some professional pumpers are insufficiently anal.

I'd probably appreciate full service more if I lived somewhere with
weather. Of course, we have full service here too.. It just isn't

Wayne <> wrote:

> due to the belief that self-service is prohibitively dangerous

There's a brief (~2 page) history of this in _Going Going Gone_ by
Susan Jones and Marilyn Nissenson. It's an interesting book about
things that were once a ubiquitous part of American life and that have
vanished or are vanishing.

In the late 1940s, some stations offered steep discounts for
self-service. Full-service stations dropped their prices to compete.
Eventually, (by 1953) people had gone back to full-service stations,
even when they cost a bit more. But oil companies and service station
operators had seen their profits suffer and decided not to let it
happen again. They lobbied to ban self-service.

``Although they were unable to cite actual incidents, industry
press releases asserted that "tragedies, especially fires and
explosions, could happen when an untrained person operates a
gasoline pump." [..] By the early 1960s, seventeen states had
laws against customers pumping their own gas.''

Ten years later, some service stations found that the only way they
could remain profitable at all was to switch to self-service, so they
lobbied to get the laws repealed.

The account ends with:

``Everyone learned not just how to unscrew the gas cap but, more
important, how to replace it before driving away.''