- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2005

MOUNT PLEASANT, Pa. - Motorists filling up in this borough are allowed to pump their own gas, but only if they are supervised by an attendant.

It has been this way for three decades, ever since a motorist overfilled a car tank, sending about 50 gallons of gas into storm sewers. As a result of the rule, almost everybody lets an attendant do the work, resulting in de facto full-service stations.

Mount Pleasant’s ordinance, which requires an attendant to be within 15 feet of the pump, is apparently unique in Pennsylvania. A recent effort to allow self-serve gas in the borough failed, but a state legislator is pushing a bill that would require stations to offer full service statewide.

State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, Philadelphia Democrat, doesn’t want to eliminate self-service, but said full service would be helpful to the elderly and disabled.

New Jersey and Oregon are the only states that require full service. The two states banned self-service stations more than 50 years ago. Efforts to overturn the ban have failed in both states.

Mount Pleasant’s mayor, who also is the fire chief in this borough of 4,500 people about 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, likes the full service offered by its two gas stations.

“My biggest concern as a fire chief was the overflow of gasoline, which can go in the storm sewers,” Gerald Lucia said.

Some residents also like the convenience of full service.

“I don’t like to pump my own gas,” said Diane Pieszak, who was having her Dodge Durango filled up while she ran errands last week.

But Ned Franks, who owns the Honey Bear Citgo station on Main Street, has been pushing for several years for the borough to allow complete self-service, saying having an attendant is an extra expense.

On Aug. 1, the borough council unanimously decided not to change the ordinance.

Darren Wright, editor of National Petroleum News, said he was unaware of any other state pushing to expand full service.

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