Subscribe

Windsor approves ban on new gas stations

The town followed the example of Petaluma, Santa Rosa and other Sonoma County cities in approving the ordinance.|

Electric vehicles becoming more popular

With Santa Rosa’s Aug. 23 vote to ban gas stations to curb the impact of fossil fuels on the environment, more than half of the residents of Sonoma County will live in a jurisdiction where new gas stations are prohibited.

Elected leaders and environmental activists say the bans are intended to help accelerate the transition from fuel to electric vehicles and encourage the use of alternative transportation.

There were 12,242 zero-emission vehicles rolling around Sonoma County as of the end of 2021. That included:

— 6,857 battery electric vehicles.

— 5,371 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

— 14 fuel cell electric vehicles.

Consumers have bought 1,465 vehicles in the first half of 2022. Teslas remain the most popular electric vehicle manufacturer but consumers are buying from a range of makers, including Kia and Toyota.

Electric vehicle infrastructure is also becoming more available.

There were 794 chargers across Sonoma County as of March 31.

— 551 public chargers.

— 243 shared private chargers found at workplaces and apartments that are accessible by employees, tenants and residents.

Source: California Energy Commission

New gas stations will no longer be built in Windsor after the Town Council approved a ban with few exceptions Wednesday.

Council OK’d the measure, following its second reading, as part of the consent calendar, which means the vote occurred without discussion from council members.

The vote was 5-0, meaning that Council member Mike Wall changed his mind since the Sept. 7 meeting when he was the only objector to the plan.

At the time, Wall said banning new gas stations wasn’t necessary and he wondered what would happen if one of the four gas stations in Windsor closed down.

Though the ordinance bars construction of new gas stations or any fossil fuel infrastructure it does allow remodeling or rebuilding of existing stations.

The town’s action Wednesday night follows on the heels of other Sonoma County cities, such as Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Cotati, Sebastopol and Rohnert Park that have already banned new stations.

The ordinance takes effect within 30 days of its approval.

The Windsor council approved a climate emergency resolution in 2019, directing its staff to prioritize reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

It has continued to advocate actions that will increase Windsor’s sustainability.

On Sept. 7, council members said the town should take part in efforts to encourage alternative transportation and help decrease Sonoma County’s overall dependence on fossil fuel. Windsor leaders approved the start of a scooter rental program a few months ago and more recently they opened a station where residents can obtain recycled water.

Opponents of the bans have argued that limiting gas stations will drive up consumer prices and burden lower-income earners. They also contend that electric vehicles are still too expensive for most people.

There have been no applications to build a new gas station in Windsor for about five years, but a gas station could be sold and continue to be used as a gas station under the new ordinance.

The state said in August it would begin phasing out gas-powered vehicles, with a full ban on sales of new gasoline vehicles by 2035.

You can reach Staff Writer Kathleen Coates at kathleen.coates@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5209.

Kathleen Coates

Windsor and Cloverdale, The Press Democrat 

As someone who grew up in a small town, I enjoy covering what's happening in Windsor and Cloverdale, which are growing in their own unique ways.  I delve into issues by getting to know people and finding out what’s going on in the community. I also pay attention to animal welfare and other issues that affect Sonoma County.

Electric vehicles becoming more popular

With Santa Rosa’s Aug. 23 vote to ban gas stations to curb the impact of fossil fuels on the environment, more than half of the residents of Sonoma County will live in a jurisdiction where new gas stations are prohibited.

Elected leaders and environmental activists say the bans are intended to help accelerate the transition from fuel to electric vehicles and encourage the use of alternative transportation.

There were 12,242 zero-emission vehicles rolling around Sonoma County as of the end of 2021. That included:

— 6,857 battery electric vehicles.

— 5,371 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

— 14 fuel cell electric vehicles.

Consumers have bought 1,465 vehicles in the first half of 2022. Teslas remain the most popular electric vehicle manufacturer but consumers are buying from a range of makers, including Kia and Toyota.

Electric vehicle infrastructure is also becoming more available.

There were 794 chargers across Sonoma County as of March 31.

— 551 public chargers.

— 243 shared private chargers found at workplaces and apartments that are accessible by employees, tenants and residents.

Source: California Energy Commission

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette