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California City the First to Ban New Gas Stations

With the state mandating a switch to electric vehicles by 2035, Petaluma is aligning its land use regulations with its climate goals.
March 3, 2021, 10am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Gas Stations

The city of Petaluma, located in the North Bay Area in California, is the first city in the United States to ban the construction of new gas stations.

Kathryn Palmer reports that the city approved the decision in February, cementing a two-year moratorium on new gas stations. A unanimous vote by the Petaluma City Council on Monday, March 1 took the final step toward adoption. The decision is intended to contribute to the city's goals to achieve zero emissions by 2030, and piggybacks on a push at the state level to end the sale of gas-powered automobiles.

"It also streamlines processes for existing gas stations seeking to add electric vehicle charging stations and potential hydrogen fuel cell stations, with city staff underlining an urgency to support alternative fueling in order to meet state zero-emission infrastructure targets," reports Palmer.

The city of 60,000 people currently has 16 operational gas stations, with a gas station within a five-minute drive of every planned or existing residence in the city, according to the article. According to the article, a recent controversy over a planned gas station at a Safeway supermarket location contributed, but was not the sole reason, to the decision.

The city's status as the first city in the country to ban the development of new gas stations has been picked up by the regional and national media sources. Andrew Chamings reports on the story for SFGate, headlining the "first in the U.S." detail. Tim Levin frames the story as a step toward an all-electric future in a story for Business Insider. Steve Schrader picks up the story for The Drive, also headlining the "first" angle. And Jennifer A Kingston picked up the news for Axios, implying that Petaluma is the first of what will eventually be many cities to take similar action.

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Published on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 in The Press Democrat
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