How to pump gas safely

I have finally found the article I was looking for, that highlights in a very practical way the interface of coronavirus and personal transportation.

Popular Mechanics came out with a nice piece a few weeks ago that speaks to precautions we can take when we perform that for most of us is a rather fundamental transportation activity: pumping gas. 

There was nothing truly surprising to me in their “How to pump gas safely” article, other than the observation that gas pump handles are apparently, “the filthiest surface that Americans encounter on the way to work,” according to a prior Kimberly-Clark study.

Still there are precautions we can take, and it is worth a read.

I mentioned in a prior post that coronavirus may induce changes in the interior of vehicles (other than our own private automobiles) due to what I expect to be the non-transient nature of social distancing. I believe that similar disruptions may occur in the rather basic activity of visiting the filling station.

To that point:  if the coronavirus situation continues much longer — and perhaps even if it does not — I expect more stations to begin offering full service options, as they are in states including Tennessee and Iowa. In fact, when it comes to filling up, it may be 1975 all over again, from both an inflation-adjusted gas price as well as how we go about the activity.

But that could go both ways. Oregon, one of the two states that currently mandate full service for all or most stations (New Jersey is the other) is now authorizing individual stations to introduce self-service, in order to protect service station attendants. So we will have to see how gas station disruption plays out.

Stay safe when you are filling up — and as you simultaneously pay for your use of the roadway network through fuel taxes — and, let’s get moving.


Joe Milazzo II, PE
Executive Director
Regional Transportation Alliance



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