Petaluma, CA

Will Electric Cars and the Russian-Ukraine Conflict Hasten the End of U.S. Gas Stations?

Joel Eisenberg

According to reports prior to the war, up to 80% of traditional gas stations will no longer be profitable by 2035.

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Closed Gas StationiStock

Author’s Note

This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. All linked information within this article is fully-attributed to the following outlets: Electrek.co, TheGuardian.com, Forbes.com, Reuters.com, CNN.com, BCG.com, and GetEnpowered.com.

Introduction

In March of 2021, Michelle Lewis of Electrek.co reported a new measure proposed in the California city of Petaluma. In her article titled “A California City Moves to Ban All New Gas Stations,” Lewis elaborated upon a city plan to accelerate the sales of electric vehicles in the small town of 60,000: The Petaluma, California, City Council this week unanimously moved to ban new gas stations, and existing stations won’t be allowed to add new gas pumps – but they can add electric chargers. The council must approve the ban during a second reading in order to make it official. To be clear, the existing gas stations aren’t being shut down in Petaluma. It’s just that no new ones will be built, because there are enough – one within a five-minute drive of every residential area in the city,

The measure, long-discussed in several U.S. cities, was the first in the country to have gone this far.

As The Guardian reported that August, the measure indeed became official and national repercussions were now regularly discussed on a larger scale: It’s the beginning of what could be a seismic shift. California now has the highest sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country. Close to 11% of all new car sales were electric in the first three months of this year and in 2020 the governor, Gavin Newsom, ordered all new cars and passenger trucks sales in California to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. General Motors and others have pledges to have an all electric vehicle lineup by 2035. But nationally, just 2.3% of new U.S. car sales in 2020 were plug-in compared to 74.8% in Norway, the country with the highest percentage of adoption.

Today, nearly two months into the Russia-Ukraine conflict amidst near record-setting U.S. inflation perhaps most notably at the gas pumps, the shift to electric vehicles have taken on a new urgency.

However, as that same inflation at the pumps and with cars puts the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle out of the grasp of many, the twin issues of affording gas before switching to a hybrid or all-electric car is a whole other problem.

Prior to the war, discussions of doing so were to drastically lessen our carbon footprint, to decrease pollutants and the use of fossil fuels. Today, in a world in the midst of being reshaped, the switch to all-electric vehicles appear to have become a necessity.

Let us explore further.

U.S. Gas Stations: 2022 Status

Gas prices have been rising since the economy began its re-adjustment as a result of the pandemic. The war has only exacerbated issues. In March of 2022, Forbes.com published “U.S. Gas Prices Near All-Time High As Ukraine War Threatens Energy Market,” by Zachary Snowdon Smith.

As excerpted from the article: The energy sector has largely been excluded from the sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries in recent weeks, but because Russia depends on fuel revenue for more than a third of its federal budget, sanctions limiting its ability to export oil and gas to the West could have a dramatic impact on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. Though the U.S. only gets about of its oil from Russia, a U.S. ban would have symbolic significance, Rabobank energy analyst Ryan Fitzmaurice told CNN, further signaling Russia’s economic exclusion by much of the world.

Reuters.com and CNN.com are hyperlinked, above.

Again, however, as fuel costs also impact other forms of transportation such as buses and planes, the eventual switch to all-electric is now largely considered imperative.

For further perspective on the U.S.’s fossil fuels reliance before the Russia-Ukraine conflict, see here for a July of 2021 GetEnpowered.com piece, “Why the Death of Gas Stations Will Be Sooner Than You Think.”

From the article, which explains other reason such as crime for the gradual decline in U.S. gas stations: The electric vehicle narrative tends to focus on the technological and economic impact of EVs (all-electric vehicles) regarding emissions, grid load, and noise pollution, but we tend to forget about gas stations... The rise of EVs is simply the final nail in the coffin, as “electric cars are going to send the petrol station business into a death spiral over the next two decades,” writes Justin Rowlatt, BBC’s chief environment correspondent.

The article also elaborates on a 2019 study: A 2019 report by BCG predicts that 80% of conventional gas stations could be driven (pun intended) out of business by 2035. Of course new gas stations are still being built, but many smaller facilities are being squeezed out of the market by big-box gas retailers, stations that sell over 940,000 liters per month.

The shift to all-electric vehicles will clearly continue.

Conclusion

The decrease of our carbon footprint due to climate change issues has been long warned about and discussed, and relatively recently enacted as it regards an attempted widespread shift to all-electric vehicles.

How fast that adaptation will take remains the question.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

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