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How 2018's New Laws Affect Your Wallet

New Laws in Effect for 2018

A few new laws for Oregonians went into effect on January 1, 2018. Here’s how they’ll affect you and your wallet.

Pumping Your Own Gas

With a recent change to Oregon’s self-service gasoline law, some Oregonians will be able to pump their own gas. Beginning January 1st, rural Oregon counties with populations less than 40,000 residents will now require gas stations to provide their patrons the option to pump their own gas, regardless of the time of day.

House Bill 2482, which was passed by the Senate in May 2017, states that these low-populated counties remove time restrictions on when people can pump their own gas. In previous revisions to the law, these counties allowed motorists to self-serve their cars only between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. as a way to meet their needs when gas attendants and employees weren’t available. In most of these counties, 24-hour stations are vital to helping out residents who need fuel through the evening hours and early morning. The new law merely extends those self-service hours throughout the entire day.

If you live in these counties, you can pump your own gas:

Self-Serve Counties
Baker Harney Sherman
Clatsop* Hood River Tillamook*
Crook Jefferson Union
Curry Lake Wallowa
Gilliam Malheur* Wasco
Grant Morrow Wheeler

*People can pump their own gas between 6 PM - 6 AM.

For those living in larger cities such as Portland, Eugene or Salem, nothing will change. These cities exceed the population count mandated in the bill and will still have to follow the original gasoline law, meaning you cannot pump your own gas. A gas attendant will still need to be on hand to assist customers with pumping between business hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., regardless of the county’s population.

Legal Smoking Age Raised to 21

In an effort to keep youth away from smoking, Oregon raised the legal age to buy tobacco products in 2018, from 18 to 21. This means anyone under 21 can’t buy tobacco products like cigarettes or vaping products. Store employees, managers, and owners can be fined if caught selling tobacco products to anyone under 21.

Increased Transportation Taxes

Along with the revision to our gasoline law, we‘re also seeing new tax increases begin to take effect this year. In an effort to improve our transportation system and repair our damaged roads, rails, bridges and ports, Oregon lawmakers have raised state taxes and passed House Bill 2017, better known as “Keep Oregon Moving.” The bill will produce a total of $5.3 billion dollars over 10 years to be used to fund various Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) projects.

According to the bill, the amount is needed to strengthen our roads and bridges in preparedness for possible earthquakes, improve environmental conditions through eco-friendly vehicles, and decrease congestion by improving public transportation.

You’ll see the following changes as a result of the transportation taxes:

  • The gas tax will increase by 4 cents, bringing it up to a total of 34 cents; every two years after 2018, it will increase again by 2 cents (ending in 2024).
  • Registration and Title fees will also increase by $13; this increase will be on top of the current rate of $43. According to the DMV website, the most popular transaction is a 2-yr. registration renewal which will now go from $86 to $112.
  • A bicycle tax of an added $15 will be included on purchases of bikes that are $200 or more; qualified bicycles must be adult models and have wheels that are at least 26 inches. This fee will go towards improving bike and pedestrian infrastructures.
  • A tax of 0.5% is added to the purchase of new cars, motorhomes, motorbikes, snowmobiles. Part of this tax will help fund a rebate program to encourage the sales of electric and hybrid cars.
  • A tax of 0.1%is now deducted from paychecks as a way to help public transportation projects in rural and urban communities ($1 for every $1000 earned).

For more information about the transportation taxes, see ODOT's FAQ.

Hopefully, this list gives you some idea of what the financial impact of 2018’s new laws will be for your household.