retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Los Angeles Times this weekend had a story about a recent decision by the California Air Resources Board "to require that all new automobiles and light trucks sold in the state be zero emission by 2035" will almost certainly imperil gas station businesses throughout the state.  One prediction suggests that "nearly half of the state’s 5,081 mom-and-pop gas stations would close by 2035."

Independent gas station owners tell the Times that "the state mandate will expedite the demise of their businesses. And they make up a significant part of the state’s fueling infrastructure: A little more than 5,000 such stations are scattered across California, according to National Assn. of Convenience Stores data."

Owners predict, the story says, that "many mom-and-pop operators will, in the years ahead, sell their properties to real estate developers or large gas station chains that can afford to upgrade the sites with electric vehicle chargers. Space limitations and the high cost of installing chargers - a high-capacity version can cost $150,000, including all associated expenditures - make it infeasible for some owners to update their properties for an electric future."

KC's View:

Progress is hard.  Not to be cavalier about it, but just ask the buggy whip salesmen.

It isn't like gas-powered cars are simply going to vanish in 2035.  There will be plenty of them around, and people and companies are getting more than a decade to consider alternatives.  Maybe the state could create programs that gives some of these mom-and-pop stations access to low-cost capital that would allow them to make the necessary business conversions?

Certainly other states ought to be considering options going forward, as we inevitably move away, slowly but surely, from internal combustion engines.