To:Head of Fire Departments
From:Stephen D. Coan, State Fire Marshal
Date:February 1, 2004
Re:Unattended Self-Service Motor Fuel Stations

Unattended self-service motor fuel stations in Massachusetts are prohibited. In accordance with 527 CMR 5.0.8:(5) pdf format of 527005.pdf
, self-service motor fuel stations (gasoline or diesel) must be under the control of the owner, operator, or duly authorized employee at all times while motor fuel is being sold or dispensed. In addition, the controlling mechanism console providing power to the pump must be in constant attendance by the owner, operator or employee at all times while motor fuel is being dispensed. A self-service station by definition is any premise where motor fuel is sold at retail.

The use of credit card reading devices/cash acceptors on self-service dispensers does not relieve the requirements for an attendant. The credit card readers/cash accepters are only to be used as a means of payment at the pump. The credit card/cash accepters must not be used as physical authorization for the dispensing of motor fuel. "Each sale shall be individually authorized by the self-serve attendant" 527 CMR 5.08(L)(1) pdf format of 527005.pdf

An attendant is not required at establishments not open to the public that fuel their own vehicles. However, that same business may not sell fuel to others (by contract or otherwise) without complying with the requirements of 527 CMR 5.08 pdf format of 527005.pdf
. Such a facility would be considered self-service.

If you have any questions please call the Code Compliance & Enforcement Unit at (978) 567-3375 or in western Massachusetts at (413) 587-3181.