Range anxiety on the range.
Byline: The Register-Guard
As the editorial above argues, it makes sense to improve the availability of fuel in Oregon's wide open spaces by approving a bill to allow self-service gas in sparsely populated counties. It's likely, however, that some Oregonians, and their legislators, do not fully appreciate just how sparsely populated some parts of Oregon are, and how far it can be from one gas station to the next.
The town of Fields in southern Harney County, for instance, has the only gas pumps for miles around, and anyone arriving there low on fuel had better hope the combination store, cafe and gas station is open. If it's closed, it's 26 miles to Denio, 50 miles to Frenchglen or 79 miles to Burns Junction - with no guarantee that gas stations in those places will be open.
Gas stations are disappearing all over rural America as fuel-efficient vehicles gain range and as environmental regulations increase the cost of installing fuel tanks. The result is that in Oregon's outback, there may be only one opportunity to buy gas. The Legislature can help make that one chance count.