New Jerseyans are known for their inability to find a consensus on debates like whether it should be called pork roll or Taylor Ham, but the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll has found one area of agreement: the state’s residents don’t want to pump their own gas.
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of those surveyed said they prefer having their gas pumped for them, with only 22% saying the opposite.
“There is apparently one thing all New Jerseyans can agree on nowadays and that’s the time-honored Jersey tradition of having your gas pumped for you,” said Ashley Koning, an assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.
Mixed Poll Message
The poll came a week after the introduction of a bill that would remove full-service requirements for most of the state’s gas stations.
“Let’s also remember that this single survey question does not reflect the full debate and complexities of the moment that include a global pandemic, an employment crisis, and now an oil crisis,” said Koning. “Context plays a crucial role in public opinion. A large majority wants full service in the Garden State, but this preference does not mean automatic opposition to a self-serve option.”
Although support for having gas pumped was widespread, the poll found Democrats (82%) were more likely than Independents (70%) and Republicans (64%) to signal support.
Additionally, White residents (30%) were about twice as likely to say they want as Black (15%) and Hispanic (17%) residents to say they would prefer pumping their own.
Eighty-seven percent of women preferred having their gas pumped for them, compared to 37% of men. Conversely, 37% of men preferred pumping their own gas, compared to 11% of men.
“Call it a gender gas gap, if you will,” said Jessica Roman, a research associate with ECPIP. “We often talk about inclement weather and gasoline smell when it comes to some of the drawbacks of self-service, but there are also significant gender-related issues, like feelings of safety, that could be driving this wedge.”
Oroho-Sponsored Bill to Save Money
The “Motorist Fueling Choice and Convenience Act” would allow the state’s gas station to offer a mix of self- and full-service gas pumping, with caveats lined out for those with disabilities. Additionally, pricing could be adjusted for self-service gas.
Assemblywoman Carol Murphy (D-7), Assemblyman Ned Thomson (R-30), and Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-33) are serving as sponsors of the Assembly bill.
State Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-24) served as sponsor for the Senate version of the bill.
“It’s time to bring New Jersey up to speed with the rest of the country with this common-sense approach,” Oroho said. “Over 300 million people already have the freedom to pump their gas. Why shouldn’t the people of New Jersey be included?”