Los Angeles Weighs Ban on New Gas Stations

The proposal would not allow permits for new locations or allow existing sites to add fuel pumps.

July 13, 2022

A Chevron Gas Station

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Safe Cities campaign, backed by environmental group Stand.Earth which aims to phase out fossil fuels, has set its sights on Los Angeles to be the next California city to ban new gas stations, reports Bloomberg, following a similar move in Petaluma.

The city of Los Angeles would no longer issue permits for new gas stations or allow existing sites to add fuel pumps under a proposal from city councilmember Paul Koretz. However, current gas stations would be allowed to add electric vehicle chargers or other methods of charging for zero-emission vehicles. In recent years, the city has approved no more than three new gas stations annually.

According to Koretz, a ban on new gas stations is “a modest step in the right direction.” California has a goal to phase out gasoline-powered vehicle sales by 2035.

“It's such a gradual commonsense measure that once it's picked up in Los Angeles—the city that’s most dedicated to cars—hopefully this spreads around the country,” he said.

Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives, warned against rushing to ban new gas stations given the 280 million gasoline-powered cars on the road today and the fact that a growing number of fuel stations also provide EV charging services to meet the energy needs of today’s motorists—and future ones. Bans like the one proposed in Los Angeles also risk stifling competition.

The plan has also been criticized for not being in line with the city’s sustainability goals compared to other policies and investments that discourage driving, such as bike lanes and public transit improvements.

On May 13, NACS filed a petition in federal court in Washington, D.C., to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s grant of a waiver that would allow California to impose a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate and related limits on greenhouse gas emissions. The California regulations depart from federal standards, and 15 states have adopted California’s ZEV mandate.

The regulations require 35% of new vehicles sold in the state to be “zero emission” by 2025, with that percentage increasing to 70% by 2030 and 100% by 2035. These regulations are how the state will impose the internal combustion engine ban that Governor Gavin Newsom announced in 2020.

The Convenience Matters podcast, “Where Do EVs Make the Most Sense?” examines the findings from a Fuels Institute study looking at life-cycle emissions for EVs and fuel-powered vehicles. NACS also has a topics page on electric vehicles with more information on the growth of the EV industry as well as EV charging infrastructure.