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Will Oregon and New Jersey Require Public EV Charger Attendants?

As the U.S. shifts to a new way to power our vehicles will we drag the inefficiencies and unneeded expenses along with us?

One odd difference between putting energy in your vehicle in the states of Oregon and New Jersey and the other 48 states in America is that Oregon and New Jersey require that you let an attendant put the energy in. Of course, this is an employment scheme that has carried over from our days of using fossil fuels to power our cars. If you missed the news, that’s changing.

Related Story: Charging an Electric Vehicle In Public Can Cost Triple What Fueling Up a “Gas-Guzzler” Does

Oregon and Washington are among the dozen or so states that have copied California’s EV mandates. These states are known as ZEV states. As in zero-emission vehicle states. These states adopt a carrot and stick approach to force automakers to move towards EVs. To be clear, this author has no issue with that. It would be convenient if all of our states had the same emissions and vehicle laws, but we are a collection of states, and that means local fiefdoms doing their own thing.

Related Story: Electric Vehicle Charging Is a Confusing Mess For New EV Owners

EVs need energy just like any other vehicle does. In the case of battery-electric vehicles, the energy is most often dispensed into the vehicle at the home of the EV owner. A smaller percentage of the energy is found at public chargers like those from ChargePoint, EVGo, or electrify America. A lot of it is also supplied by Tesla’s private EV charging network of Superchargers.

All of the reasons why Oregon and New Jersey require an attendant to pump your gas are imaginary. As proven by the 48 other states’ 315,000,000 residents who don’t light themselves on fire or drop dead from fumes on a daily basis. So, we are not trying to suggest that EV chargers should have attendants. That would be preposterous. It would be a ridiculous waste of money and resources. Just like having gas attendants is.

However, programs like the gas attendant requirements in Oregon and New Jersey must make sense to somebody, otherwise, in a functioning democracy, they would have been discontinued. We are trying to start a dialogue to see how many folks support EV attendants, and why. If you are a supporter of having a person plug in and monitor your EV while it charges, please feel free to make your case in the comments below.

Image of Chevy Bolt charging by John Goreham

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

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jg (not verified)    December 28, 2021 - 8:18PM

In reply to by david e nolan (not verified)

In the past that was the difference between the “full service” pump and the “self service” pump. Problem was that it cost extra to pay for the attendant to pump the gas so most people stopped using the full service pumps. I was driving from California to Washington and stopped in Oregon for gas, not aware of the wacky mandatory attendant thing. When the guy wouldn’t let me pump my own gas, I just left. I don’t want some wacky person touching my car and trying to make awkward conversation while I make sure he or she isn’t scratching or denting my car.

Erik (not verified)    December 29, 2021 - 1:03PM

If the states requiring petrol attendents don't trust you to not blow yourself up or pollute the ground water spilling gas, it makes perfect sense they shouldn't trust you around electicity. So yes, you should not be allowed to recharge your own car in public . . . or at home. Sarcasm off.

Is there really someone in public office in those states actually contemplating regulating who can plug in an EV? Nuts, simply nuts.

Byron Blue (not verified)    December 29, 2021 - 2:20PM

Preposterous idea! The attendant has no "real" job as demonstrated by the fact that we have done fine w/o them. Their only purpose could be for security of the equipment and to prevent "ICEing" (parking of a non-electric car in a charge space). I don't want to sit and wait for an attendant who is at the other end of the station when I can get out and do it my self quickly. I also don't want to pay more even if they clean the windshield and check the tires!