North Bay leads trend on banning new gas stations

A trend that began right here in the Bay Area is likely to speed up the acceptance of electric cars nationwide. The trend? Banning or placing moratoriums on new gas stations or the expansions of current ones.

The pain at the pump alone is increasing the sales of electric cars. But what about fewer gas stations?

“Is there a need for more of them? I would just say no. We’ve participated in playing a role in defeating three proposed gas stations in Sonoma County,” said Woody Hastings of CONGAS, the Coalition Opposing New Gas Stations.

Last year, Petaluma outright banned the establishment of more gas stations. Rohnert Park, Sebastopol and Cotati have done the same. Marin’s San Anselmo has adopted a moratorium and is working on a permanent ban. Napa’s Calistoga has imposed a ban.

“Now, the city of Los Angeles is wanting to do similar,” said Hastings.

Hastings says he’s received inquiries from people in Ohio, New York and Washington state.

At a Valero station in Petaluma, KTVU spoke with customers about the ban.

“We used to have twice as many as we have now, but there’s not that many cars sitting here,” said Wayne Van Patten.

“I think we have plenty of gas stations, and I think we should be looking for more alternatives,” said Carra Lantier.

Stores with big parking lots, like cinemas and big-box stores, will no doubt provide charging stations for electric vehicles, and likely at some point, for a price. Gas stations, however, already have the advantage of people knowing where to get fuel and trusted.

“I have a rally old truck. So, I’m dependent on the gas station. But I think that we will be transitioning more into electric vehicles,” said Amber Hasselbring. 

“We have two vehicles. One is electric and one is gas, and I prefer the electric vehicle,” said Lantier.

Santa Rosa’s City Council Planning Committee will take up the issue Thursday, and the City of Windsor will likely vote on it in mid-August. But make no mistake, L.A. is the game changer.

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