Sacramento, CA – In response to emerging policies banning new gas stations in localities across the state, the California Fuels & Convenience Alliance issued the following statement:
“An alarming trend is spreading across localities in California. Various localities throughout the state have started down a misguided direction, banning new gas stations within city and county limits, through ordinance or moratorium. This single-minded approach will ultimately cause greater harm for communities than any potential benefit.
“Many of these proposals emerge from the belief that by reducing the availability of fueling sites, they will reduce the amount of fuel consumed. This assumption is naïve at best, or textbook NIMBYism at its worst. Despite California’s intended goal of phasing out combustion engines, the fact remains that a vast majority of Californians continue to drive gas-powered cars. These Californians still require fueling sites within reasonable proximity of their homes or places of employment. This direction will not drive consumers to replace their vehicles, but will instead force them to travel greater distances out of the way to acquire the fuel they need to make their commutes and get their kids to school.
“These bans also reduce vital competition within the community. Competition between businesses is imperative for both businesses themselves, and for consumers. Under basic economics, this forces prices for commodities to remain competitive. In a basic sense, this means the more available retailers of fuel there are, the more competitive prices must be kept. Additionally, as businesses vie for patronage they also work to stand out amongst competitors, offering new and innovative products and services. In this vein, business owners look to continually update their physical storefronts, as well, keeping building facades updated and attractive to potential customers.
“This competition is the very crux for many stations to invest in new fueling options, such as electric vehicle charging and hydrogen fueling stations. The gas station industry has spent over 100 years identifying the most efficient ways to fuel communities. Even under the argument that the fossil fuel industry is waning, existing gas stations are the best positioned to transition to new fueling infrastructure. With the advances in fast charging that we have already seen and the technological breakthroughs on the horizon from the EV charging industry, it is short-sighted to imagine a future where cars take an hour to charge. As charge times decline, the familiar corner gas station is the clear choice to best serve Californians. Convenience is one of the major objectives for stations, and something the industry continues to perfect serving as a one-stop-shop to meet the needs of their customers. This alone will serve as a primary factor in driving the strategy for new transportation fuels.
“The state needs to build 60,000 chargers by 2025 to hit their goals – building urban and suburban charger density would be best accomplished by partnering with the existing service providers, the billions of dollars of existing infrastructure, and the century of experience in safely providing fuel to consumers.
“Consumers also enjoy the benefits of competing brands for meeting their fueling needs, with many seeking to patronize certain preferred providers. As the state struggles to meet the needs of its expanding population and providing adequate housing, communities continue to expand. Essential commodities, like fuel, must continue to be readily available for California’s expanding and developing communities.
“California’s gas stations are held to the highest levels of safety standards and regulatory stringency in the world. They provide goods and services to every community in the state, create stable employment opportunities, and serve as economic catalysts. In many cases, fueling stations are also a leading source of local tax revenue, providing much-needed funding for public services like police, fire, and school districts. The fuels and convenience industry must continue to be a part of the discussion about California’s future, and not become another casualty of narrow-minded and naïve policies.”
CFCA is the industry's statewide trade association representing the needs of independent wholesale and retail marketers of gasoline, diesel, lubricating oils and other petroleum products; transporters of those products; and retail convenience store operators. CFCA’s members serve California’s families, agriculture, police and fire, cities, construction, and delivery industries to name a few.