Filling station attendant

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A filling station attendant, gas station attendant (United States and Canada), or gas jockey (US), is a worker at a full-service filling station who performs services other than accepting payment. Tasks usually include pumping fuel, cleaning windshields, and checking vehicle oil levels. Prior to the introduction of self-starting vehicle engines, attendants would also start vehicle engines by manually turning the crankshaft with a hand crank.

In the United States, gas jockeys were often tipped for their services,[1] but this is now rare as full-service stations are uncommon except in New Jersey and Oregon where retail customers are prohibited by law from pumping their own gasoline (self-serve gas stations are banned).

Filling station attendants are still employed at gas stations in many countries. South African stations, for example, generally offer only full-service. Stations in Indonesia often employ women as filling station attendants, many of whom wear uniforms designed to include the traditional hijab. In Egypt, attendants are employed at every station and tipping them is customary, cleaning windshields and checking tire pressure are their main tasks besides filling up.

History[edit]

Early filling stations were usually located at general stores, where gasoline would be put in buckets and funneled into vehicles. Most early stations were little more than a manually powered roadside pump operated by an attendant.

Decline[edit]

In the 1970s, two periods of gasoline shortages (1973 and 1979) caused higher fuel prices which in turn resulted in permanent closure of many full-service gas stations as consumers looked for pricing relief.

Current status[edit]

In most western countries today, full-service stations and their attendants are not common and are usually considered somewhat nostalgic.[2] However, all stations in New Jersey and Oregon in the United States offer only full service and "mini service". In these states, attendants are required to pump gasoline because customers are barred by statutes from doing it themselves. New Jersey banned self-service gasoline in 1949 after lobbying by service station owners and Oregon did the same in 1951. Proponents of the ban cite safety and jobs as reasons to keep the ban.

Brazil[edit]

In Brazil, self-service fuel filling is illegal, due to a federal law enacted in 2000.[3] The bill was proposed by Federal Deputy Aldo Rebelo, who claims it saved 300,000 fuel attendant jobs across the country.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]