California’s gas-car phaseout brings turmoil to mom-and-pop gas stations
The gas pumps at a family-owned gas station in the L.A. suburb of Whittier, Calif., show empty shelves because of the state’s gas-hysteria campaign to kill the industry. Gas prices plunged across the continent as Californians scrambled to fill up their vehicles and the national gas prices fell as well. (John Locher, AP)
SAN FRANCISCO — Californians could hardly avoid pulling out of their gas cans Thursday morning and filling up at a gas station near them. Many of them weren’t driving — instead they were taking the first steps to driving away their gas and taking their cars with them.
The first time in more than 40 years that California’s gas-hysteria campaign to kill the gas station has had a noticeable effect, it was at two dozen stations near the sprawling, gated communities of Rancho Palos Verdes and Palos Verdes Estates.
The first time that California residents who previously owned a vehicle and had a driver’s license filled up their gas tank, they filled it up with a combination of propane that they had at home and gas that they found somewhere else.
The first time that Californians filled their tank with gas that had been pumped out of the ground by someone else was at 20 stations in northern California.
And the first time a gas-sales rep, or gas attendant, was out on the road driving with a gas pump in his hand filled with gas taken off the black market was in Whittier, Calif., two hours east of Los Angeles.
Even as consumers made the decision to pull into those gas stations, the decision to fill up was taking place at the pump.
The campaign to end the gas stations began a few months ago when state lawmakers began making headlines by passing legislation that would require fuel retailers to pay a distributor a fee to put gas in the ground, which would have meant the fees would have been passed on to