County joins local cities in prohibiting new fueling stations
Written by Marc Albert
A commuter landmark north of the Novato Narrows photo credit: Googlemaps
Echoing a number of local municipalities, Sonoma County officials Tuesday narrowly prohibited new gas and diesel infrastructure in parts of the county.
The move won't force any of the 46 stations located in unincorporated areas to close, though they won't be allowed to add more pumps.
Cashless stations dispensing gas to fleet customers using cards, or private distributors serving agricultural users and heavy equipment rental businesses are exempt.
While the ban on new fossil fuel stations is symbolically significant, Supervisor Chris Coursey offered reassurance that it's far from revolutionary.
"It's not doing away with anybody's gasoline-powered car, it's not doing away with their gasoline. There's more, more room at the gas station every day with all the electric cars that are coming out there, unless you go to Costco, there's not more room at Costco."
Fuel prices at Costco gas stations tend to be among the lowest in the county, but require an annual membership.
After much deliberation, the measure was approved 3-2, with supervisors Gore and Rabbitt opposed. The two took issue with an amendment prohibiting a planned rental car filling station at Sonoma County Airport.
Rental car companies aren't able to make a major shift yet. Airport manager Jon Stout said limited charging infrastructure at the airport means gas-powered vehicles are far more popular, both for customers and rental companies.
"When a customer shows up to rent a car, they want to be able to provide a car to those customers that have a full charge. They are projecting they will need at least fifteen level three chargers, which consumes a significant amount of power. They're going to still have problems being able to support the fleet," Stout said
Upgrades to a nearby PG&E substation enabling the installation of more chargers is five or six years away, he added.
Stout also said rental companies have sought their own fueling facility at the airport as currently, they must have staffers on hand to drive vehicles off-site for fueling.
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