Here is a sincerely modest proposal for promoting social distancing, at least in New Jersey: give us self-service gas. Please. New Jersey’s been debating this issue fruitlessly for years. Every other state has it. Even Jersey’s own gas stations want it at this point. And some towns are begging for it, as well. Now is the time, for God’s sake. Naturally, the state legislature and the station owners’ association want to relax the rules “for now,” so that they have the freedom to default back to business as usual when the pandemic passes. I guess we’ll have to fight that battle when we get to it. But let’s at least have self-serve now.
I last ranted on this topic about five years ago, in response to this article in The New York Times. (Here’s a more recent one.) You can re-visit my rant on the subject here, if you want; scroll down to the “postscript” half-way through. But honestly, you shouldn’t need to. All I did was rant the obvious at excessive length. Feel free to skip it. This one’s a no-brainer.
We should retain some full-service islands and attendants for motorists who, for medical reasons, may have trouble pumping their own gas. But that’s compatible with plenty of self-serve. If forty-nine states can figure out how to do it, so can we. Or so I’d like to think.