This weekend while we were out running some errands, my husband offered to fill my vehicle with gas, so that I wouldn’t have to get out in the cold and pump it this week. How sweet was that?
Who remembers when we had gas stations with attendants that came out to pump the gas, check the oil, and clean the windshield?
I truly miss the days when I could pull into Disel Buhl’s Chevron, a full-service station which was located in Williamsburg, and be greeted by friendly attendants eager to help me with whatever small thing I needed done.
I would drive across town just to go to Buhl’s Chevron. The gas may have been a few cents higher there, but I didn’t mind. I was a loyal customer, because Disel and his crew treated me right, and they never failed to take care of my vehicle’s needs. He had excellent customer service, and there’s something to be said for that, because it is definitely a lost art nowadays.
I miss the full-service stations in the winter time the most, when the bitter air is whipping around my shivering body, as I patiently wait for the dreadfully slow gas pump to dole out my gas. (The pumps always seem to run so much slower in the winter time.)
At Buhl’s Chevron you could get a tire plugged, an oil change, or your tires rotated, along with other small services, which were handy for a lot of people. I know I am not the only one who misses those simple services.
It was a convenience for mothers with young children in the car, as well as elderly people who needed a little assistance.
Did you know that in Oregon and New Jersey, it is illegal to pump your own gas? That’s right.
Oregon was the first state to put safety rules in place on pumping gas back in 1951, when lawmakers there decided only trained station attendants should be able to pump gas. The northwestern state has since loosened restrictions on gas pumping a bit, and because of the pandemic in 2020, the ban was lifted temporarily due to staffing shortages. I am not sure if it is back to normal there again, or not.
I actually think it is a great idea to have trained gas station attendants to pump gas, not only because I don’t really like pumping in the cold air, but because I worry about other people pumping gas around me.
How many times have I been pumping gas only to look over to see someone standing there smoking a cigarette with a gas pump nozzle in their hand? It happens more often than you think. I don’t think people realize the danger they’re putting themselves, and others, in.
It is actually a Class 3 misdemeanor if you’re smoking within 20 feet of the gas pumps, and there is a sign posted prohibiting smoking. But more importantly, vapors, not liquid, ignite gasoline, and yes, some newer stations have “vapor recovery devices” which are supposed to limit the flow of the toxic fumes into the air, thus reducing the chance of a fire, however, that doesn’t stop the flow of the fumes completely.
Also, according to a Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) website, even the simple act of sliding across your vehicle’s seat can build thousands of volts of static charge which can discharge when you touch the metal gas nozzle. This act causes seemingly harmless vapors to burst into a fiery ball of flames.
The KFB website where this information is found features a video of a lady pumping gas. While she is pumping, she decides to sit down in her vehicle for just a minute, then she slides back out, touches the gas nozzle and immediately a flash fire erupts. It happens in just a matter of seconds and there was no warning. The fire could easily have gotten out of control, had she not been a quick thinker.
Static electricity is even more common during cold, dry conditions like our weather is now.
An electrostatic research firm estimates that there are at least 100 static-sparked fires at gas stations each year. These small flash fires can result into full blown explosions if swift action isn’t taken.
So, never get back into your vehicle while you are pumping gas and don’t go within 20 feet of the gas pumps if you are smoking, or using a lighter or matches.
Please keep safety in mind at all times while at service stations, and stay warm.
I guess we will just have to keep on pumping our own gas, until someone decides to put another full-service station in.