Will Prohibiting New Gas Stations Make a Difference for the Climate?
Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz made big news this month when he proposed prohibiting the construction of new gas stations in the city. The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board questioned the proposal, asserting that a prohibition “would have little real effect [on the climate] and should not be a top priority of city leaders.”
Coltura disagrees with the Los Angeles Times. Debate over the future of gasoline is useful for raising the profile of gasoline as an issue, educating residents about gasoline’s harms and its limited future, and providing a focal point for activists to oppose new fossil fuel infrastructure. Coltura’s research has found that a higher concentration of gas stations in a local area is associated with higher usage of gasoline and that gasoline stations and their environmental harms tend to cluster in lower-income communities. In California, gasoline use is on average over 7% higher in zip codes with the most gas stations.