Green Room

A License to Pump Gas: Another Example of Out-of-Control Government Bureaucracy

posted at 3:34 pm on May 21, 2011 by

“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.

Official letterhead?

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.

Follow me on Twitter or join me at Facebook. You can reach me at howard.portnoy@gmail.com or by posting a comment below.


Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

That is hysterical. Presumably, the station owners actually reimburse any pump jockeys they may employ for their license fees — in order to hold them in indentured servitude for that initial $25 and the $15 ponied up at regular intervals thereafter.

Or not. Who knows. How many stations are there in New York where pump jockeys — or station attendants, as they were called — are still employed?

J.E. Dyer on May 21, 2011 at 3:39 PM

NY is getting almost as bad as CA in their taxing the daylights out of everything. Sorry if any NY people are here, but facts are facts.

I think the most gosh horrible thing I have seen today has to do with about this issue of big bro outta hand. If this has been posted before, sorry.

http://nation.foxnews.com/culture/2011/05/20/family-facing-4-million-fines-selling-bunnies
L

letget on May 21, 2011 at 3:55 PM

wow, so how will this work in OR, since they gov there made the small companies hire people to get off unemployement!

Stupid, over thinking, morons.

upinak on May 21, 2011 at 5:01 PM

A friend of mine started, years ago, pumping gas at Sears.

He retired, very comfortably, a few years ago from sears. He was manager of a sears tire store with 150 people under him.

davidk on May 21, 2011 at 7:13 PM

I wish we have mandatory full service in Michigan. I hate pumping gas. It is usually too windy, too hot, too cold, too something. Again, I would love to have pump jockeys here in Michigan.

karenhasfreedom on May 21, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Is there additional testing/licensing/taxing in order to qualify those individuals to scrape bugs off windshields?

Oh, no, there I went and gave them another idea. My bad.

Robert17 on May 21, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Two forms of ID to take a test to pump gas, but presenting ID to vote is considered ridiculous.

JohnTheBuilder on May 21, 2011 at 9:26 PM

Funny thing is, next door in New Jersey self-serve is illegal and (so far as I can tell) there’s no law requiring that the people who handle the gasoline have any license at all. I’m sure the station owners have some training, since there are safety systems on the pumps and tank, but the pump jockeys? I don’t think so.

njcommuter on May 21, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Let’s see…

- Understanding of the English language, and not, say, Spanish.
- Two forms of ID.

This is, in all likelyhood, from the same people who squawk about voter ID and any efforts to either integrate immigrants into American society or stem the tide of illegal alians.

Steve Eggleston on May 22, 2011 at 12:19 AM

As a young boy of 13 I could and did work 10 hours a day, 6 days a week as pickles and potatoes came into season. At 14 I worked at an amusement park operating the childrens swing and horse rides during the summer. At 15 I had a paper route that was the largest single route in the county. At the same time I was a bag boy at a nearby grocery store and part time at a gas station pumping gas washing windshields, checking oil and on occasion changing oil, filters and lube jobs. At 16 I worked in a lumber mill and operated a fork truck, large table saw and delivered to local job sites. Now, everyone of those educational, experience gathering starter jobs are forbidden by NLRB and a society that gives 26 year old kids full health care protections on their parents policy. Is it any wonder we have forgotten what responsibility, common sense and self-reliance means.

fourdeucer on May 22, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Applicants must present two (2) forms of satisfactory identification i.e., driver’s license and passport picture ID.

Aren’t these requirements racist? They need to have two forms of ID just to pump gas!? Where are the unions? Where are the Dems calling this unfair, job preventing GOP scheme to keep students, seniors and minorities from getting a job? WI is only going to require one form when voting and you would swear the world was going to end!

roosterman on May 22, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Just think how much stimulus money was spent to keep the government employees fully employed so they could save or create minimum wage pump attendants jobs.

davod on May 22, 2011 at 8:43 PM

Back in the days of “Full Serve,” being a pump jockey near the beach during summer was as near to heaven as a young gun could get….

cane_loader on May 22, 2011 at 9:44 PM

I wish we have mandatory full service in Michigan. I hate pumping gas. It is usually too windy, too hot, too cold, too something. Again, I would love to have pump jockeys here in Michigan.

karenhasfreedom on May 21, 2011 at 7:56 PM

There were some full-service stations in Flint as recently as a few years ago. They charged almost double what gas was anywhere else in town, and the gas jockeys still expected a tip. You want to pay the extra burden, then by all means, feel free. As for the rest of us, I think we’ll pass.

Blacksmith on May 22, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Two forms of ID to take a test to pump gas, but presenting ID to vote is considered ridiculous.

JohnTheBuilder on May 21, 2011 at 9:26 PM

Brilliant point! We live in an insane world.

patch on May 23, 2011 at 4:15 PM