Banning the construction of new gas stations anywhere in the United States would have seemed far-fetched a few years ago. However, it may soon become a political reality in the huge, car-centric city of Los Angeles.
As part of an effort to reduce the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, LA officials are exploring a ban on the construction of new gas stations.
Los Angeles would be the first large city to implement a ban. Andy Shrader, who assists city council member Paul Koretz on environmental issues, said on a press call organised by the charity Stand.Earth on Wednesday that Koretz planned to introduce a policy to halt the permitting of new gas stations.
“We’re keen on getting it done before the end of this year,” Shrader said.
“We are ending oil drilling in Los Angeles. We are moving to all-electric new construction. And we are building toward fossil-fuel-free transportation,” LA council member Paul Koretz (D) said, referring to other recent policy decisions.
“Our great and influential city, which grew up around the automobile, is the perfect place to figure out how to move off the gas-powered car,” Koretz said.
Although the proposal does appear to be controversial on the surface, the prohibitions that have been granted thus far prevent the building of proposed gas stations, implying that Americans will still have plenty of locations to fill up their automobiles.
The United States has one petrol station for every 2,500 citizens, which is more than twice as many as the European Union. Gas prices in California have risen to an average of $6.37, the highest in the country. However, the local bans are not expected to affect fuel prices.
“Prohibiting construction of new gas stations is not going to do anything to impact gas prices right now,” said Anne Pernick, who works with the nonprofit Stand.Earth.
“But the cost of new gas stations in terms of the health, equity, and safety of the community, as well as future stranded assets, is a bill that definitely ends up being paid by public dollars.”