In late February, the Northern California city of Petaluma became the first in the United States to ban the construction of new gas stations. As had been expected, the City Council’s vote on this issue was unanimous, and it reflects the gradual transition towards a future that incorporates more electric vehicles. It is likely that other cities around the Golden State and other parts of the country will follow suit with similar municipal ordinances in the near future, which is why it is important to start discussing this matter.
Regulations Regarding the Future of Gas Stations
We know that EVs are becoming a global trend for various reasons. In Europe, for example, national mandates that call for a drastic reduction in vehicle emissions will be coming into effect starting in 2025, and they will become even more strict by 2030. Automakers are responding with increased production of EV models; we are already seeing this happening in the American market with the introduction of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, which has proven to be very attractive among new car buyers.
The aforementioned Petaluma ordinance does more than just prohibit the construction of new gas stations; it calls to support the installation of EV charging ports, and this is where the future seems to be heading towards. The 16 stations currently operating in Petaluma will not be able to add any new gas or diesel pumps, but they will receive incentives to install charging ports, and this an excellent opportunity for retrofitting projects.
Commercial Construction and Retrofit Projects
At Murphy Construction, we have extensive experience with both new gas station construction and retrofits. We can tell you that a strategic retrofit can do more in terms of generating sales than a new station located near a busy intersection. Gas station operators know that they can generate more revenue from convenience sales than from gasoline and diesel. Since the EV recharging experience tends to be a lot longer than filling up the gas tank, this presents a great opportunity for smart gas station operators in California.
With a robust electrical grid in place, installation of EV charging stations should be attractive to station operators who may not make as much money from recharging than from fueling, but they can definitely capitalize on the overall experience. In Europe, old gas stations are being remodeled to offer gourmet beverages and snacks; some of them even have spaces for services such as hair salons and barbershops because some EVs can take a long time to fully recharge. For existing station operators, EV charging ports can be a lucrative proposition if they play the right cards.