California bill would block local governments from banning new gas stations

Source: By ALEX NIEVES, E&E News • Posted: Wednesday, January 31, 2024

S.B. 983 would block cities and counties from stopping the construction of both gas stations and zero-emission infrastructure until a study is submitted to the Legislature.

A motorist drives near the pumps at a Chevron gas station.

New legislation from state Sen. Aisha Wahab would mandate a study on the status of gas and alternative fuel infrastructure.Ben Margot/AP

A new bill in the California Legislature would block local governments from banning the construction of new gas stations until California produces a study on the status of gasoline and alternative fuel infrastructure.

S.B. 983, introduced late Monday night by state Sen. Aisha Wahab, a Democrat from the Bay Area, would direct the California Energy Commission to establish an “Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Taskforce,” which would be tasked with conducting a study on retail gas stations and non-fossil fuel infrastructure like electric vehicle chargers and hydrogen fueling stations. The agency would have until Jan. 1, 2027 to complete the study.

The move would counter a growing number of local governments that are moving to halt the construction of new gas stations within their borders. Officials in the small Sonoma County city of Petaluma became the first to pass a ban on new gas stations in 2021. That decision quickly spread around the county, including to Santa Rosa, its largest city.