Once upon a time, self-serve gas stations were a novelty, and it wasn’t unreasonable to think that allowing untrained consumers to pump their own gasoline might pose a safety threat. But drivers got used to operating the pumps, fuel-dispensing technology improved, gas-station owners welcomed the savings — and self-serve stations grew enormously popular. In only two states, New Jersey and Oregon, are motorists still prohibited by law from pumping gasoline, an eccentric prohibition that has irritated many visitors driving through those states.
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