Car-heavy L.A. could ban building of new gas stations

Certain California cities have already halted the construction of new gas stations, and that’s an effort that may be coming to the car-dependent Los Angeles area.

After several northern cities in Sonoma County put a moratorium on building new gas stations over the past year, the Los Angeles Times reported that L.A. City Council member Paul Koretz has been leading the charge for the same climate-friendly change in the nation’s second-biggest city.

“Given Gov. Newsom’s timeline to end the sale of gas vehicles by 2035, gas stations are a dying business,” Mr. Koretz said. “Their toxic chemicals take years and millions of dollars to clean up.”

The outlet reported that Mr. Koretz put forward a motion in May 2021 to halt the permitting of new gas stations; however, it was tabled by the city’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee last fall. 

“It’s really up to cities to turn around climate change,” said Andy Shrader, director of environmental affairs for Mr. Koretz. “While the motion hasn’t gained traction, [Mr. Koretz] and other council leaders expect a hearing on the matter this summer.”

The Times reported that Mr. Shrader spoke at a recent conference about gas station prohibitions across the state, where he said “L.A.’s enormous and damaging ecological footprint really helped set us on this path.”

The Times reported that the proposal is expected to get a full hearing next month. 

It should be noted that the proposal wouldn’t affect existing gas stations; it would just prevent new ones from being built.

But there is a massive population difference between L.A. and the cities upstate that have banned the new gas stations. 

Those cities — Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, American Canyon and Calistoga — combine for a population of roughly 137,000. Los Angeles has a population of nearly 4 million.

Another hurdle for L.A. to overcome would be its car-heavy culture. Personal vehicles are the primary way residents get around the city.

Mr. Koretz’s proposal would also require “any expansions of current gas stations to be limited to serving zero-emissions vehicles and providing non-fuel-related facilities.”

However, getting your hands on an electric vehicle requires some patience. 

According to consumer information site Tom’s Guide, anyone who buys a Tesla Model 3, the company’s least expensive car (at about $47,000), the vehicle wouldn’t be delivered to you until October at the earliest and January at the latest.

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