– January 8, 2018
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Residents of Oregon became outraged when a new law took effect allowing motorists in rural counties to, perish the thought, pump their own gas.

As of January 1, gas stations in counties with populations of fewer than 40,000 people are permitted to offer self-service under House Bill 2482.

Since 1951, Oregon required all gas stations to have pump attendants, but now drivers in 15 counties can pump their own gas any time of day, while those in three other rural counties can do so after business hours, between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

When news regarding this change surfaced, locals started to complain on social media about how “dangerous” the act of pumping gas was and how no one should be allowed to do it other than “qualified” gas-pumping attendants — comments typically made a few decades ago when it was considered “man’s work only” to pump gas in parts of the Midwest and the South.

The rest of the country, besides New Jersey, have been pumping their own gas for years. Trolls mocked fearful residents which resulted in some pretty hilarious responses to the #OregonGasCrisis here:

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House Bill 2482 does not force drivers to pump their own gas; it just gives them the option to do it themselves — a point missed by some. The law also does not require all gas stations to have self-service pumps around the clock. Nor does it eliminate jobs because gas stations with convenience stores are still required to have attendants during business hours.

While the social-media responses were fun to watch, it is clear that having the freedom to choose can be too much for some people to handle when the government is typically involved in their everyday lives via occupational licensing.

Hopefully, the #OregonGasCrisis will help others realize that freedom only exists when people are truly free to make choices for themselves.

Chloe Anagnos

Chloe Anagnos

Chloe Anagnos is a writer and digital marketer and has been an AIER contributor since 2017. Her work has been the subject of articles in FOX News, USA Today, CNN Money, and WIRED. She has been a writer, commentator, and panelist for media outlets around the country on subjects like political marketing, campaigning, and social media. Follow @ChloeAnagnos.

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