Northern News

APA CA logo

A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

How Sonoma County sparked a movement to ban new gas stations across California

By Dustin Gardiner, San Francisco Chronicle, September 15, 2022

“Environmentalists in Sonoma County have come up with one of the most aggressive policy ideas yet to help speed California’s transition to electric cars: Ban construction of new gas stations.

“So far, seven cities in the North Bay have adopted ordinances prohibiting new gas stations. The largest, Santa Rosa, approved its ban two weeks ago. The effort is also quickly gaining momentum elsewhere: the Los Angeles City Council is expected to debate a ban this fall, and local leaders in parts of New York, Ohio, New Jersey and Canada are considering it.

“Petaluma became the first city in the world to enact such a prohibition last year. It was soon followed by Calistoga (in Napa County), Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Cotati and Santa Rosa. Windsor is in the process of doing the same. The Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority has also encouraged cities to enact bans.

“The movement comes as California is already making big moves to phase out gas-powered cars. Last month, state air-quality regulators passed a regulation to mostly ban the sale of new vehicles with gas engines beginning in 2035, formalizing a policy Gov. Gavin Newsom created with a 2020 executive order.

“[One] complaint from critics is that [gas station] bans don’t take into account that California’s population is still growing in many areas. They said prohibiting gas stations in new developments could force drivers to travel farther to find gas.

“But supporters of the prohibition on gas stations say the time for incremental measures is over as rapidly warming temperatures pose an existential threat to both human life and natural ecosystems.”

Read the full article (~4 min.)

Scroll to Top