A License to Pump Gas: Another Example of Out-of-Control Government Bureaucracy
posted at 3:34 pm on May 21, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
“Stay in school, or you might end up pumping gas for a living.” This was advice freely dispensed to young people back when I was one of them. And though a career as a pump jockey is not one most youth aspires to, in New York you can’t aspire to it at all unless you (1) pay an annual licensing fee and (2) pass a written test.
As noted at The Blaze, the added hypocrisy in this bit of bureaucratic silliness is that any shlub off the street is free to pump his own gas—no license or passing test grade needed.
The fee for a P-15 license—the type needed to be a certified pump jockey—is $25, plus $15 every couple of years to renew. It’s not a hefty tariff but it’s still a silly nuisance, not to mention a burden for anyone making minimum wage. To add insult to injury, this is a line of work that is sorely lacking in job satisfaction. Standing outside in the dead of winter or suffering the equally oppressive heat of a New York summer is no one’s cup of tea.
And then there is the test, or as it is formally known the “Examination for Certificate of Fitness for Motor Fuel Dispensing—Service Station.” It is administered Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and it is written and multiple choice. A passing score of 70% is required in order to secure a license.
Oh, and did I mention, there are basic qualification requirements? These are as follows:
- Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
- Applicants must have a reasonable understanding of the English language.
- Applicants must present a letter of recommendation from his/her employer. The letter must be on official letterhead and must state the applicant’s full name, character, physical condition, experience, and address of premises where applicant will be employed.
- Applicants must present two (2) forms of satisfactory identification i.e., driver’s license and passport picture ID.
And let us not forget the costs to the city government. There are the fees involved in administering the exam (test proctors, physical plant maintenance, printing of the exams) and to individuals responsible for reviewing applications and checking IDs.
If there is a more ridiculous waste of taxpayer money, it has not yet been devised, though our system government is still comparatively young. Give it time.