Story at a glance
- The Petaluma City Council voted to ban new gas stations from being installed inside city limits.
- The new law will also support preexisting gas stations in installing electric vehicle battery charging stations and hydrogen fuel cell stations to incentivize residents to switch to an electric vehicle.
On Monday, Petaluma, Calif., became the first U.S. city to pass legislation specifically banning new gas stations from being established in the area.
The bill was introduced on Feb. 22, with the first moratorium on new gas stations being adopted by the city council in May 2019. Since then, the moratorium has been consistently extended.
The Petaluma City Council voted unanimously on the moratorium as part of the city’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2030.
The new law will also support preexisting gas stations in installing electric vehicle battery charging stations and hydrogen fuel cell stations to incentivize residents to switch to an electric vehicle. This runs parallel with California’s larger goal to host 5 million Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) by 2030.
“The goal here is to move away from fossil fuels, and to make it as easy as possible to do that,” Councilor D’Lynda Fischer told the press. “Right now, we have existing fossil fuel stations, and what we want them to do is add (electric vehicle) chargers and create another source of fueling people can use.”
Petaluma currently has about 16 gas stations in operation and contains about 60,600 residents. The city has its own Climate Action Commission composed of city staff and volunteers to design a sustainable infrastructure framework for Petaluma.
One of the city-recommended practices to halt climate change includes working on subtracting carbon from residents’ commutes — meaning take a bicycle, public transportation or an electric vehicle in lieu of a regular car.
Other sustainable initiatives enacted by Petaluma include solar installations at city facilities, LED streetlight conversions, and amendments to the city’s general infrastructure plan.