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For Immediate Release

Board of Supervisors prohibits new retail gas stations in unincorporated Sonoma County

SANTA ROSA, CA | March 14, 2023

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved an ordinance prohibiting the development of new retail gas stations in unincorporated areas of Sonoma County. The ordinance goes into effect in 30 days, on April 13. 

The proposed ordinance would align with the Regional Climate Protection Agency’s Sonoma Climate Mobilization Strategy, the county’s Five-Year Strategic Plan, the General Plan, and climate goals adopted in the 2018 Climate Resolution. A gas station ban is also in line with the California Air Resources Board’s Advanced Clean Cars II regulation that mandates all new passenger cars sold in California be zero emissions by 2035.

“Preventing new gas stations in the unincorporated county is just one of the tools we need to employ to reach our climate goals,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “Gas stations can be toxic sites, with run-off pollution and soil contamination, and we need to shift away from fossil fuels if we’re going to make a dent in climate change.”

The Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Agency Board adopted the Sonoma Climate Mobilization Strategy in March 2021, which sets a target of carbon neutrality by 2030 and outlines a number of countywide strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration. 

Transportation produced approximately 60 percent of Sonoma County’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. To achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, Sonoma County residents would need to reduce the use of gas-powered vehicles by increasing transit ridership, biking and walking. Residents would also need to reduce fossil fuel consumption by replacing fossil fuel-powered vehicles with electric vehicles. 

As of 2016, there were roughly 158 gas stations in both unincorporated and incorporated areas of the county, primarily concentrated along major transportation corridors. There are approximately 46 fuel stations in the unincorporated county, including seven in the Coastal Zone. The legislation would exempt non-retail gas stations for fleet and agricultural uses with the exception of the rental vehicle fleet at Sonoma County Airport.

Media Contact: 
Bradley Dunn, Permit Sonoma Policy Manager
(707) 321-0502
2550 Ventura Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403