Self-service gas won't cut pump prices
 
Friday, May 5, 2006


When Gov. Jon Corzine recently proposed allowing self-service gasoline stations, hundreds of residents called and e-mailed him to oppose the idea.

Corzine quickly dropped the proposal, which he said could lower pump prices about 5 cents per gallon. The governor didn't want his other legislative priorities, including his budget proposal, to get buried in the protests, he said.

"This is not a fight that you want to take to the death," he said.

But it makes you wonder how in touch Corzine is with the average New Jersey resident. One of the perks of living in New Jersey is having someone else pump your gasoline at prices lower than neighboring states, where this would be considered a premium service, if it were offered at all.

In this high-tax state where the living sometimes isn't easy, full-service gas is a luxury many New Jerseyans don't want to give up.

This is not an irrational response to rising gas prices. It is not certain, as many of our readers expressed, that motorists would see any savings.

Gas station owners already have reduced their attendants. That's why motorists sometimes must wait to get service. So, the savings from ending full-service might not be there. And that nickel per gallon likely would disappear into someone else's pocket as prices continued to rise.

Corzine's other proposal to save gas, lowering the speed limit on highways from 65 mph to 55 mph, appears to be a meaningless gesture -- at least in this state. After people panned his ideas, Corzine admitted that out of 30,000 miles of state highway, only about 500 miles have a posted speed of 65 mph.

Certainly, motorists can save gas by slowing down, and they should. But lowering the speed limit will have such a minimal impact, it is not worth the cost and time to change the speed limit signs.

Instead, the governor should look at doing things that could make a difference. This could include studying how to make NJ Transit bus service more attractive to commuters and aggressively pushing other options, such as carpooling and reducing trips.

By controlling the amount of gasoline used, consumers can exert pressure on the oil market and lower pump prices.

Source- Courier Post

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