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The Wastefulness of New Jersey's Gas Pumping Restrictions


Driving through New Jersey, we stop for gas and sit for a few minutes until the attendant comes to fill our tank.  My son tells me that is because New Jersey has one of the most wasteful restrictions in the Union: there is no self-service gasoline; all gas must be pumped by an attendant.  This wastes drivers’ time — it’s almost always quicker to pump gas oneself.  The labor of the attendants is thus devoted to generating economic waste and could be spent productively elsewhere rather than in promoting economic inefficiency.
Perhaps at one time the restriction was based, as they usually are, on health/safety, or perhaps on preventing pilferage.  But today, with credit-card pumps and few (no?) cases of people burning themselves pumping their own gas, the restriction has no rationale—other than protecting the attendants’ jobs.