Petaluma, Calif., recently banned the construction of new gas stations within the city limits.
The city totals less than 15 square miles and has 16 gas stations. A new law caps the number of stations at 16, even if some go out of business, and prohibits existing facilities from adding additional pumps.
The ban comes as the number of gas stations nationwide is steadily declining, with big retailers such as Costco, Sam’s Club, and Safeway adding gas fueling services at their stores. Some smaller stations have gone out of business as a result, and when that happens it creates an environmental problem.
Defunct businesses cannot pay for the removal of underground fuel storage tanks and environmental remediation of leaks. That means the properties cannot be redeveloped until such remediation is performed.
California will ban new gas car sales in 2035, so Petaluma’s action may spark a trend in the Golden State.