Inland Empire City Pauses New Gas Station Development

The reasons for a ten-month moratorium on gas station development in the city of Rancho Cucamonga portend a major shift in transportation and land use priorities in the near future.

June 22, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Inland Empire

Matt Gush / Shutterstock

Steve Scauzillo reports from Rancho Cucamonga, a city located on the fringes of the Inland Empire in Southern California, where the City Council recently implemented a ten-month moratorium on new gas station development throughout the city.

The city has 34 gas stations, nearly twice as much as the neighboring city with the second-most gas stations, Fontana with 21. In Rancho Cucamonga, the number of gas stations works out to .69 service stations per square mile.

The newly implemented moratorium follows a study by city planners that produced three main findings, according to Scauzillo:

  1. There are a lot more in this All-America city than in any nearby city.
  2. Sales tax revenues from service stations are falling.
  3. Calls for police and fire services are rising, nearly doubling in four years.

The city credited the decline in gas tax revenue to increasing numbers of residents driving electric vehicles—a reality that has long been predicted as a reason for gas tax reforms.

According to Scauzillo, city planners will use the moratorium to generate more answers to questions like, "Should new gas stations be located near schools or parks where children play?"

Also, notes Scauzillo, most the city's gas stations are in the southwest and central areas of the city, "leading to environmental justice issues since these areas have more dense and older housing stocks."

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