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California city bans construction of new gas stations in climate-fight first

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A Northern California city is believed to be the first in the country to ban all new gas stations in an effort to curb carbon emissions.

The Petaluma City Council voted unanimously Monday to prohibit the creation, expansion, reconstruction and relocation of gas stations, encouraging owners of gas stations to convert their facilities into ones that serve electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The city of 58,000 people 40 miles north of San Francisco hopes to become carbon neutral by 2030.

"We need to do our part to help mitigate and adapt to our changing weather patterns that exist because of all the carbon we put in the atmosphere," Councilwoman D'Lynda Fischer, who spearheaded the initiative, said Tuesday.

"I hope other cities will follow suit, and if they have existing fossil fuel stations that satisfy the needs of their community, they too will decide that they don't need any more," Fischer said.

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Petaluma has 16 gas stations, with one more expected to be built as part of a grocery store. It had been approved before the vote.

The measure is happening in a state that's been a leader in fighting climate change. In 2018, former Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order intended to get California carbon neutral by 2045. Last year, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the sale of new gas-powered vehicles would be banned starting in 2035.

Major car manufacturers are also taking steps toward eliminating gas- and diesel-powered engine models. General Motors, the country's largest automaker, has pledged to replace its current fleet with all-electric cars, SUVs and light trucks by 2035. 

Volvo this week announced plans to phase out gas engines in all its cars by 2030.

The Petaluma resolution will take effect 30 days after the council's approval.

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