Most New Jerseyans don’t want to pump their own gas, according to results from a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll.
Pollsters found that about three-quarters of New Jersey residents don’t want anything to do with pumping their own gas.
Despite a bill introduced by state lawmakers recently that would allow the option for self-service gas in the Garden State, only 5% of respondents were unsure of whether they wanted the change while an overwhelming 73% of residents said they prefer having their gas pumped for them. Just 22% said the opposite.
“There is apparently one thing all New Jerseyans can agree on nowadays and that’s the time-honored Jersey tradition of having your gas pumped for you,” said Ashley Koning, an assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, in a prepared statement. “But let’s also remember that this single survey question does not reflect the full debate and complexities of the moment that include a global pandemic, an employment crisis, and now an oil crisis. Context plays a crucial role in public opinion. A large majority wants full service in the Garden State, but this preference does not mean automatic opposition to a self-serve option.”
There are some demographic differences between gas pump preferences. While all party lines agree to an extent, Democrats are most likely to prefer having their gas pumped for them (82%), followed by Independents (70%) and Republicans (64%). Along racial lines, white residents (30%) are about twice as likely as Black residents (15%) and Hispanic residents (17%) to say they prefer to pump their own gas.
Folks in the lowest income bracket are the most likely to prefer full service (83%); those in higher income brackets are about one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half times more likely than those in households making under $50,000 annually to say they prefer self-service.
Urbanites (82%) prefer having their gas pumped for them. Outside of city centers like Newark and Trenton, other regions still prefer to have their gas pumped for them, but not as overwhelmingly (69% to 73%).
The largest disparity in gas pumping preferences is between men and women. Women prefer to have their gas pumped for them (87%), compared to 55% of men; conversely, 37% of men prefer to pump their own gas, compared with just 11% of women.
“Call it a gender gas gap, if you will,” said Jessica Roman, a research associate with the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, in a prepared statement. “We often talk about inclement weather and gasoline smell when it comes to some of the drawbacks of self-service, but there are also significant gender-related issues, like feelings of safety, that could be driving this wedge.”
Results are from a statewide poll of 1,044 adults contacted by live interviewers on landlines and cell phones from Feb. 25-March 4. The full sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.