SALEM — A bill to expand the hours of self-serve gas stations in rural counties in Eastern Oregon is headed to the state Senate, after the House unanimously passed it last week.

The bill allows 24-hour self service at stations in certain counties. Those stations would still be required to have attendants between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., however.

The legislation by state Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, expands on a law passed in 2015 that allowed self-service between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. in 18 counties with a population of less than 40,000. The idea was to protect travelers from being stranded in remote places.

Oregon is one of only two states that prohibit customers from pumping their own gas at fueling stations. The other is New Jersey.

In Eastern Oregon, some locally owned gas stations have been at risk of closure due to the expense of hiring fueling attendants to pump customers’ gas, Bentz said.

“We are trying to preserve these stations out in the middle of nowhere so that we have fuel available,” Bentz said earlier this month.

The proposed change affects 15 counties in Eastern Oregon: Malhuer, Union, Wasco, Hood River, Jefferson, Crook, Baker, Morrow, Lake, Grant, Harney, Wallowa, Gilliam, Sherman and Wheeler.

The original proposal included Clatsop, Curry and Tillamook counties. However, opposition to expanding self-service hours prompted proponents to carve out those coastal counties. Opponents feared the change would threaten the jobs of those who pump fuel for a living.