With a mayor lobbying for gas stations, Elk Grove will never make a bold move on climate action as other communities did

During the most recent Elk Grove City Council meeting, Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and her city council approved a new gas station. The new fueling and convenience store on Calvine Road is on the city's northern border.

Approving the fueling and junk food store is unremarkable. After all, since Elk Grove's incorporation, scads of gas stations and convenience stores have opened mostly free of controversy.

But Elk Grove's and almost every city in California's continual approval of gas stations seems odd given the state air resources board mandate ending the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2035. That is just 11 years away. 

While ICE vehicles will continue operating for decades in California, forward-thinking municipalities should start to pivot away from gas stations and toward EV charging stations. Alas, for most communities, especially Elk Grove, since the 2022 passage of Measure E's sales tax increase, that honey pot of sales tax revenue is too appealing to discard. 

But while Elk Grove opens more gas stations as the city expands - it is notable the Calvine Road station is in a fully developed neighborhood - there are communities taking the bold step away from gas stations.

Several Sonoma County municipalities, including Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Cotati, Santa Rosa, and Windsor, have banned new gas stations. Also, Sonoma County County banned new gas stations in unincorporated areas.

In a story published on Grist.org, these changes have not gone unnoticed by the Western States Petroleum Association. Readers of dozens of stories on Elk Grove News by contributor Dan Bacher may recognize this group if, for nothing else, the millions they spend on lobbying California legislators. 

Given that Elk Grove is like every other California municipality relying on sales tax, especially from gas sales, it is unlikely our mayor or city council would ever consider a bold move to ban the further construction of these stations. But there is another reason Elk Grove will not only approve gas stations but encourage more gas stations, and that is the mayor.

For those who are not aware, according to a KCRA report, Mayor Singh-Allen's day job is the president of the American Petroleum and Convenience Store Association. That's right, the mayor is a lobbyist for gas stations.

With the mayor's day job and her oversized influence over her four city councilmen - clean air and environmental advocates take note - don't even think about floating this idea in Elk Grove. Not only has the mayor refused to recuse herself from voting on new gas stations, but any clean air or climate action advocate hoping to adopt such an ordinance will be summarily kicked out of town.

The most ironic part is as a nominal Democrat, Singh-Allen will undoubtedly have the support of some fellow Democrats as she seeks higher office. How many of the EV driving Democratic party members support climate actions while supporting an elected official who encourages the continued and expanded use of fossil fuels?

It will be noteworthy to see the EV driving clean air and climate action supporters contort as they continue their support of a person pouring more fossil fuels into the environment. That will be another classic example of political hypocrisy.

Photo by Erik Mclean via Pexels

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Sadtosee said...

EGmayor is such a crooked dual faceted politician, who will probably go very far... unfortunately for our children.

Diagda said...

The mayor is smart the other communities specifically sacramento are inept and not informed and will stiff voters with the bill in the long game view of covering the cost of updating or upgrading ev charging stations were nowhere near an agreement on settled universal ev charging stations so when they do agree converting to newer faster universal ev charging ports will cost a lot of money.
There is ev flat wireless charging ports coming who will cover and maintain those ports?
Then there is new batteries that will go further
With less charging time again this means current cars out there will be out of date, will current ev drivers be able to swap out batteries ?? So this banning gas stations is truly dumb and too early .
I can see gas stations with petro and ev charging ports because cars will be charged in five minutes for five dollars a pop easily .

Diagda said...

The mayor is smart it’s too early to
Ban gas stations because the ev charging technology is changing drastically even the batteries this will trigger a major fluctuation in development and deployment costs and upgrades tax payers should not be stuffed with any cost of upgrade conversions or maintenance cost period until the technology is settled .
I see more gas stations or renovations of current ones to include ethanol (there goes the price of corn and corn cooking oil again lol) and ev charging ports that will take five minutes or less to charge cost would be five to seven bucks a pop banning gas stations will devastate those businesses and devastate cities and small towns because for example let’s say the north /south high speed rail is built less people will visit and bring business to these eco fragile small towns they’ll just ride through them they’ll just drive through less stopping gas stations that double as ev charge port stops will cause that pause and visit in that said town/city/village so I commend the mayor for not following the herd on the issue of gas stations .

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