REPORT: No new gas stations

Published on June 23, 2022

The Signs Are Clear: Why a growing movement of local governments is taking action to prohibit new gas stations and fast track the clean energy transition

A gas station half submerged by water

The growing SAFE Cities movement of local governments working to stop the expansion of all types of fossil fuel infrastructure includes many taking action to say no new gas stations in the US and Canada.

Local government leaders and advocates are increasingly convinced that the negative health, environmental, equity, and economic impacts of gas stations can no longer be justified, especially in light of the need to stop expanding fossil fuel infrastructure to combat the climate crisis and the rapid growth in opportunities for the electrification of transportation.

Since Petaluma, CA passed the first policy in 2021, at least four more local governments in the US have passed permanent prohibitions, and at least six more, including Los Angeles, in the US and Canada have policies in development to do the same. This report from SAFE Cities at Stand.earth, the Coalition Opposing New Gas Stations (CONGAS), Coltura, and Elected Official to Protect America (EOPA) outlines the reasons why prohibiting new gas stations is right for communities. 

READ THE REPORT

 

Building new gas stations simply doesn’t make any sense. Governments in California, Canada, and the E.U. mandated an end to new gas car sales by 2035, while other places went even further and implemented sales bans as soon as 2030 or even 2025. Car companies like GM, Mazda, Volvo, and others see the writing on the wall and are following suit by setting dates for when their last gasoline vehicles will be sold.

Not just that: As many as 80% of gas stations are projected to be unprofitable by 2035 and remediating a gas station can cost more than $2 million, with an average cost of $243,299 per site.

What’s worse is that gas stations emit hazardous levels of benzene (a dangerous carcinogen), as well as ozone (which causes asthma and other respiratory problems), with lower-income residents and people of color taking the brunt of these risks.

Combine all of that with the fact that 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. come from transportation. No matter how you look at it, there’s zero reason we should be building new gas stations – zilch.

And yet gas stations are still being proposed and built all over the place when all that time, energy, and financial capital should be going to building the clean energy economy. That’s why local governments are taking action.

What started as a simple act of resistance to a new gas station being built in the small town of Petaluma in California last year is growing into a bonafide wave of action across Turtle Island. Already more than 130 SAFE Cities from Los Angeles to New York (and lots of smaller towns in between!) have taken action on blocking all kinds of fossil fuel infrastructure – and gas stations are next.

The challenges posed by the climate crisis and fossil fuels may seem daunting – but the climate movement has never been more powerful, and transformative change is within our reach. If enough communities pass SAFE policies, we could stop all new oil, gas, and coal expansion projects globally – and give ourselves the best possible chance of keeping temperature rise below 1.5° while building a more resilient, equitable future and securing the health of our communities.

All politics are local, and with meaningful climate legislation stalled at the federal level, it’s up to cities to take action.

Use this tool look up and send a message to your local elected officials telling them you don’t want any new gas stations in your community.


You can find the press release that accompanied the report here.