If gas-powered cars are on the verge of being banned, then you don’t need gas stations anymore. Right? So officials in Petaluma, California, voted to ban new gas stations in their town. The Petaluma City Council had already placed a moratorium on approving new stations in 2019. So this latest move kills any possibility of a new gas station ever being built in the fair city of Petaluma, just north of San Francisco. Ever.
Petaluma is the first city in the US to ban gas stations
That makes Petaluma the first city in the US to ban gas stations. It already mandated itself to be a zero-emissions city by 2030, so if you like your cars to be ICE but live in Petaluma it sucks for you. So Petaluma must have a ton of them now, right?
Well, not exactly. With a population of 61,000, it has 16 stations-17 if you factor in the last one it approved which hasn’t been built yet. The city fathers feel that with a size of 15 square miles there is a station within a five-minute drive.
“Based on this inventory, there are multiple stations located within a 5-minute drive (2.1 miles at 25 mph) of every existing residence as well as all areas planned for residential development by the 2025 General Plan but not yet constructed,” the bill spells out.
The ban stops current gas stations from adding more pumps
We are starting to see gas stations also install EV charging, so what about that? These existing stations can add EV charging as well as hydrogen for fuel cells. But the ban stops current stations from adding any more pumps at their locations.
This action follows the efforts by the Coalition Opposing New Gas Stations or CONGAS. This group has been trying to have stations banned in the entire county of Sonoma, which Petaluma is but one city in.
“There’s no need for new fossil fuel infrastructure, from gas stations to pipelines to refineries,” Matt Krogh, U.S. oil and gas campaign director at Stand.earth, wrote in an email to Gizmondo. “In California in particular, where state climate targets are required by law, new gas stations will have a short shelf life and could be abandoned before they make enough money to pay for their own shutdown and clean up. This gas station ban is a common-sense step to not get further bogged down by fossil fuel infrastructure.”
Of the 450,000 brownfield sites in the US, one-half are petroleum leaks
By “clean up” he’s referring to gasoline spills that riddle gas stations use. According to the EPA of the 450,000 brownfield sites in the US (brownfield being a polluted site), about one-half were caused by petroleum leaks. The source is either underground tank leaks or from customers pumping gasoline. The EPA has an entire section devoted to this problem called the Office of Underground Storage Tanks or Oust. Who knew?
Besides banning ICE vehicle sales by 2035 and now this gas station ban in Petaluma, the state of Cali has also gunned for diesel trucks. It is requiring 75% of heavy trucks sold in Cali to be electric by 2035 as well. Plus, it is looking to fund an electric highway where EVs can charge while driving. So get your chargers ready because the transition to EVs is happening now.