Could it be the end of the road for traditional petrol stations, even in the US?

By ETX STUDIO | 7 March 2021

SACRAMENTO: Petaluma, in California, is the first US city to ban the construction of new petrol stations within the municipality and to prevent the expansion of existing petrol stations. Only electric charging points and hydrogen stations will be authorised in the future.

This decision is particularly symbolic in a country where the car is still very much king, and where petrol stations are a veritable part of the nation's heritage.

Petaluma - which has a population of 61,000 and is located 132km south-west from the state capital Sacramento - currently has 16 service stations, ensuring that any residence in the city is no more than a five-minute drive from a filling station.

The city's decision is directly linked to an ambitious local climate plan destined to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2030, and which notably foresees the installation of infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Other local authorities may now follow in Petaluma's footsteps. The climate goals set by the State of California for the coming years effectively mean that any new petrol station may be more or less doomed, as it may struggle to remain profitable long-term.

For all the others, it may just be a matter of time, since California voted to ban the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered cars by 2035 -- a first in the US.

Policies promoting the move to electric vehicles could one day spell the end of the road for traditional petrol stations, even in the US, where the country's famous gas pumps may find themselves resigned to the realms of history.