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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gasoline and alcohol: do they mix, or not?

In light of the continual faux controversy over whether gas stations/convenience stores should be "allowed" to sell booze, I offer this story I came across. There are Sunoco stations in the Syracuse area that have started offering growler fills from taps at the station. Remember: beer sales are legal at gas stations in New York (I offer this for my Pennsylvania readers whose heads might explode at the thought of beer at gas stations...even though it IS happening in PA).

So the local ABC affiliate does a story on it, and the very first person they talk an anti-alcohol type who puts his mouth in gear without engaging his brain. "It's almost laughable from our perspective. It's like how easy are we going to make alcohol for people, it's like saying our convenience stores are going to be turned into little mini-bars,” said Phil Rose, with the Prevention Network.

Well, Phil, let me explain something to you -- no, wait. I'll let Joseph Featherall explain it. He's just some dude on the street in a peacoat, but he gets this better than a trained abuse professional. "You can buy a 6-pack at a gas station, so why not be able to fill up a recyclable container? You know, that's environmentally friendly and craft beer is awesome.” Nicely said, Joseph, and your very first phrase puts the 'duh' in Phil Rose's face.

If it is illegal to drink while driving, then it is no more or less illegal to drink from a can you bought at a gas station than it is a growler you bought there. In fact, and here's the kicker: it's no more illegal than drinking from a can or growler you bought at a grocery store, or a bar, or a beer store. Is there something about gasoline fumes that makes people want to hop behind the wheel and start chugging? Not to mention...most of the bars I know have parking lots. You know?

Anti-alcohol people are often working from personal pain, and they are doing a good thing, trying to prevent that pain from affecting more people. But so many of them are completely clueless when it comes to risk assessment and picking your battles. Phil should have said something like "It's the person that makes a dangerous drinker, not the container." Is that asking too much?


Jeff Linkous said...

Gas station/convenience stores have been selling beer in the South for ages.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous. Like there is a difference whether you drive away from a gas station or a distributor with beer.

BTW, Just to correct your recycling lingo, you want to say "reusable container" which is even higher up the recycling hierarchy than "recyclable container." All beer containers nowadays are recyclable, few are reusable.

Rich said...

Beer is legal. Where does this notion come from, that making a 100% legal product, more difficult to obtain, will therefore save society and prevent drunk driving. Please, do me a favor, if you don't want us to have beer and licquor, please, please, PLEASE make it illegal (and we'll see how that goes). I'll tell you this...I'm confused as all hell, I can't tell if my governement wants me to have it or not.

Chuck Cowdery said...

Cunningham's, a venerable Louisville dive bar, was forced to close its drive-thru window. Was that sound public policy?

This reminds me of Jon Stewart's reaction to drug legalization, "what's the matter? Are you too lazy to walk to the park?"

Indiana goes Pennsylvania one better. There it is legal to sell beer in gas stations, but it can't be cold beer. That shows 'em.

Bill in Harrisburg said...

This is such a great idea; growler fill ups at the gas station. Meanwhile, we here in Pennsylvania are still struggling to get to where NY State and other places were 20 years ago! I can't imagine how long it'll take for the Commonwealth to allow us 'this' freedom.