All the buzz about electric vehicles, i.e.,”EVs,” has people talking and speculating about the end of an American institution, the gas station.
RVers can’t help but wonder about the future of their lifestyle as politicians in some states push “Green New Deal” regulations favoring electric vehicles (EVs) and legislation banning gasoline engines.
If gasoline-powered vehicles are banned, what will happen to the gas stations?
It’s a question that would never have crossed the mind of most RVers before California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order on September 23, 2020, banning new gasoline engines in the state by 2035. Last week the edict was rubber stamped by the California Air Resources Board, which approved the so-called Advanced Clean Cars II Act. Now, 17 other states have adopted California’s standards under the U.S. federal Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. §7507).
The future of 168,000 gas stations
What does that mean in terms of the nation’s 168,000 gas stations?
Petrol fuel retailers are taking the question seriously. Trade organizations such as the American Petroleum and Convenience Store Association forecasts that 80 percent of California’s more than 12,000 gas station retailers will likely be unprofitable (read: out of business) by 2035. Considerations such as retooling the gas stations as EV charging stations are impractical because of the costs of recharging, the long charging time required by EVs, and the fact that power grids are unable to handle the vast increase in electricity demand.
Of the other 17 states that adopted the California model, it’s likely that New York’s 7,848 stations will be out of business, too. Likewise, Pennsylvania’s 4,629 stations. Many large car-centric states like Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico are on that list, too. Texas, the state with the most gas stations, with 15,742, is not, and will likely be working to keep its fueling stations in business.
For RVers, who have a substantial investment in a petroleum fuel-powered motor home or tow vehicle intended to traverse the country from sea to shining sea, this trend is worrisome. Many will be reluctant to rush to purchase a new $250K+ Electric Recreational Vehicle (ERV) even if a practical one eventually exists. For now, gasoline and diesel are available nationwide, albeit at exorbitant cost, and the threat of gasoline station unavailability can, and likely will, change in the months and years ahead.
RVtravel.com will continue to monitor and report on developments on this issue.