Petaluma, CA Just Outlawed New Gas Stations Making Room For EV Chargers

Electric vehicles are coming, and there is nothing any can do to stop them even if they wanted to – for some reason. As the planet continues to suffer under the weight of carbon emissions, the EV takes a stronger hold on the automotive market. California already committed to outlaw the sale of new gas-powered cars after 2035. Following suit, the town of Petaluma, CA, just outlawed the building of any new gas pumps. 

From gas pumps to chargers

According to The Drive, the Petaluma, CA city council voted unanimously to outlaw all construction of new gas and diesel pumps and more pumps to existing gas stations. This marks the first city to make such a declaration. The city had already put a 2-year moratorium on the new construction of pumps back in 2019. This new vote makes the sentiment longstanding. 

Following California’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2045, this lines up directly as a strong first step toward that end. California made the bold call to stop selling any new gas- or diesel-powered cars by 2035. That is a pretty bold claim. It Is plans like this that are likely inspiring many major automakers to change direction to lean into EVs over the next five years. 

leaking gas nozzle at a gas station
Gas station | Getty

The town of Petaluma is feeling good about the number of gas stations they currently have. As stated in the bill, “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.”

Infrastructure is the key to EV success 

There are 16 gas stations currently, with one being built that was approved in the bill. The limiting of new gas stations is limiting the amount of gas and emissions in the city and trying to reserve space for EV chargers, and incentivize the townspeople to make the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy.  

Enercity AG Electric Vehicle Charge Site as Germany Boost Green Energy Infrastructure
EV Chargers | Alex Kraus/Bloomberg

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This bill didn’t just limit the number of gas stations; it also streamlined the process of adding EV chargers and hydrogen stations. The group CONGAS (Coalition Opposing New Gas Stations) is working to make Petaluma not be the only city giving the ax to new gas stations. The Drive references reporting from Gizmodo that this group wants to continue its work of banning all new gas stations across Sonoma Country. 

This is only the beginning of the EV wave

As Stand.earth’s U.S. oil and gas campaign director Matt Krogh recently told Gizmodo, “There’s no need for new fossil fuel infrastructure, from gas stations to pipelines to refineries. 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 not to get further bogged down by fossil fuel infrastructure.”

Gas station pumps
Gas station pumps | Getty

While people who deny or oppose climate change and the work needed to fight against it will surely bristle at these sorts of regulations, gas stations are not going to be useful as they once were. The number of EVs on the road is growing, incentives or not. As the demand for EVs and chargers goes up, the demand for gas stations will go down. 

We might as well prepare for the future now instead of continuing to build these monuments to a dying energy source. We will likely need some gas stations for a very long time as buying a new EV is very cost-prohibitive for many Americans, and the old, gas-powered cars will be cheaper to own and maintain. But the change is inevitable, and we should invest in land and resources appropriately.