The text of Oregon Statute 480.330 is as follows:
480.330 Operation of gasoline dispensing device by public prohibited; aviation fuel exception. An owner, operator or employee of a filling station, service station, garage or other dispensary where Class 1 flammable liquids, except aviation fuels, are dispensed at retail may not permit any person other than the owner, operator or employee to use or manipulate any pump, hose, pipe or other device for dispensing the liquids into the fuel tank of a motor vehicle or other retail container. [Amended by 2001 c.285 §1]
This law forces the owners of fueling stations to hire and train employees or use their own time to monitor and operate all of their fuel pumps. Since the wages of these extra employees or the time commitment are an unnecessary expense in that the customers can easily pump their own fuel, this law is a violation of the fuel station owner’s rights to their pursuit of happiness.
The Oregon legislature that passed the bill claimed that they had found that untrained self-service at fueling stations creates risk of spills, fires, and exposure to the toxic fumes of fuel. However, these claims have been and are being objectively refuted every day by hundreds of thousands of motorists in the 48 states that permit self-service as those motorists safely pump their own gas without incident or health concern. Thus, allowing customers to pump their own gas at fuel stations is not a violation of the right to life of any individual, and by allowing self-service the owners of fuel stations’ rights to their pursuit of happiness is not superceding the rights to life of other individuals, and thus the violation of the owner’s rights by prohibiting self-service is not constitutional under my proposal because of the 14th rights and privileges clause of the 14th amendment.
The Oregon legislature also claimed that allowing self-service forces the elderly or disabled to pay higher costs for full service, whereas if everyone has to pay for full service, then the costs for full service are spread to all customers. This claim states that the right to pursuit of happiness of the elderly and the disabled supercedes the right to the pursuit of happiness of all of the able people that want cheaper self-service. Thus, this claim by the Oregon legislature only serves to further demonstrate the unconstitutionality of the law under my proposal.
So in this case we have a law that might seem reasonable, prohibiting the handling of a dangerously flammable fluid by untrained people, but we find that the objective evidence for the safety of the unregulated act in question refutes the existence of a real danger, at least when certain safety standards in the design of the pumping systems are adhered to by their manufacturers and the eventual owners. Regulations to protect against potential dangers should be carefully considered and frequently reconsidered so as not interfere with advancements in technologies and practices which can reduce the dangers comparably or better than the restrictions enforced by the regulation. Thus, a regulation should not say: Owners of fuel station shall not permit customers to pump their own fuel. But should rather say something like: Any one who pumps fuel at a fueling station must do so in a way which does not create a hazard to the lives of other individuals or in any other way violates their right to liberty or their pursuit of happiness. The first can be found to be unconstitutional under my proposal, and the second can not.