With Dwindling Sales and Heightened COVID-19 Risks, Gas Station Owners Say “Pump Your Own Gas” in Jersey

NEW JERSEY-As gas stations are feeling the corona-crunch, dwindling sales and dwindling staff, the New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store, and Automotive Association is asking Governor Phil Murphy to allow New Jerseyans to pump their own gas.

Here’s their letter to the governor:

In a period when New Jersey has seen a substantial decline in the number of gallons of motor fuel sold, New York and Delaware have seen a combined increase of about 415 million gallons of fuel. If those gallons were sold in New Jersey, under the current tax rate the State would collect over $170 million more in revenue per year, which could allow for a decrease in our tax rate by 3¢ a gallon, while still collecting the approximately $2 billion annually required for the TTF.

This is not counting an unknown number of gallons that would return from Pennsylvania, which would increase revenue and allow for a further lowering of the tax rate.

Of course, bringing all of those gallons back would likely require repealing most of the cumulative 26.9¢ a gallon PPGRT increase (30.9¢ for diesel), which would be a major net loss to the State. However, it does mean that there a significant amount of “elastic gallons” which could come back to the state if New Jersey retailers were able to lower their prices in some way by a noticeable amount.

The only real solution in sight would be to allow motorists, at their discretion, to pump their own gasoline for themselves and benefit from the savings that would result. Based on analysis by our members, prices could be lowered by an average of 10¢ a gallon, with a range between 7¢ and 23¢. The motorists now purchasing their gasoline in New York and Pennsylvania are clearly more concerned with price and convenience than they are with full-service, since almost all stations in those states are self-serve. Also note that the recently passed increase in the minimum wage will begin this July 1st, followed by another increase on January 1st and annual increases afterward.

Each of these increases will raise the cost of labor, which will be passed onto consumers, which will lead to more of them making their purchases in New York and Pennsylvania when possible, which will lead to declines in tax collections which will lead to fuel tax increases to ensure enough money is collected for the TTF. Allowing self-serve as an option will lower costs and break that cycle.

Photo by Photo by Lily Banse on Unsplash