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Vitale – Self-Serve Gasoline Pilot Unnecessary

Senator Says Save State Funds, Just Say No to Self-Serve

TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, issued the following statement regarding a proposed gasoline self-service pilot program being advocated by Governor Corzine. Senator Vitale had released a statement earlier in the week saying without guarantees, self-service could be detrimental to disabled and senior drivers:

“Governor Corzine’s proposed self-serve pilot program, though it comes with noble intentions, should be outright rejected by the State Legislature. Self-service gas is discriminatory, it won’t save any money, and it will only benefit oil companies already making a killing at the pump.

“Right now, oil companies are posting record profits, earning billions off the backs of driving Americans. Their interest in self-serve gasoline is self-serving at best — by basically getting license to cut overhead and layoff hundreds of employees, they will be able to put more money in their own pockets. There are absolutely no guarantees that any savings from self-serve will ever be seen by New Jersey’s drivers.

“The pilot program being proposed will not give us an accurate picture of the real effects of self-service gasoline. We’re talking about a pilot being conducted in a controlled laboratory, with oil companies ultimately calling the shots. Gas prices are a moving target, set largely by artificially manipulated supply and demand. How can we be sure we’re having a real impact on the price of gasoline when so many arbitrary factors contribute to the cost?

“And the worst part about self-serve is that those who feel uncomfortable pumping their own gas, especially seniors and disabled drivers, will end up paying more. Self-serve would set up a two-tiered, discriminatory system, where drivers are paying full-service prices for self-service gasoline, and even more for full-service.

“While we’re being hit hard at the pump, we have to recognize that in full-service New Jersey, we’re still experiencing some of the lowest gas prices in the nation, despite being one of only two holdouts on self-service gasoline. Calls to switch to self-service will have no effect on the ultimate price at the pumps, but will enrich oil companies whose business practices have caused much of the spike in fuel prices in the first place. New Jersey should stay the course, and push for accountability from oil providers, which in the long-run will provide sustained savings on gasoline prices.”