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Sebastopol moves toward halting new gas station construction

Sebastopol, the small west county town with a taste for progressive politics, is considering a ban on new gasoline stations — with just three serving a population of about 7,700 at an intersection of two state highways.

The burg with liberal bent won’t be a pioneer, as Petaluma beat it to the anti-petrol punch with a gas station ban in March, while Santa Rosa and Cotati are mulling similar measures.

The Regional Climate Protection Authority, a county agency, is committed to boosting prohibitions in other cities under the Sonoma Climate Mobilization Strategy adopted in March.

“The idea is to stop building more gas station infrastructure,” Sebastopol Mayor Una Glass said. “What we want is more people choosing their next car to be a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle.”

Turns out President Joe Biden wants that, too. On Thursday, he issued an executive order aimed at making half of all vehicles sold in 2030 electric.

The five-member Sebastopol City Council on Tuesday unanimously directed staff to draft a prohibition on new gas stations that would be submitted to the Planning Commission and then brought to the council in the fall, Glass said.

Sebastopol’s lib credentials date back to declaring itself a nuclear-free zone in 1986, electing a medical marijuana dispensary operator to the council in 2012 and the following year becoming the second California city to mandate solar panels on new residential and commercial buildings.

“One of our big goals is to be climate proactive,” Glass said.

The president, a self-proclaimed “car guy,” on Thursday took an EV Jeep on a robust spin around the White House grounds.

“The future of the American auto industry is electric,” Biden declared.

Glass is driving her talk, as well, a plug-in hybrid that runs for 27 miles on electric power and gets 62 mpg in hybrid mode. She uses less than a gallon of gas a month and has a six-kilowatt solar power system at home.

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 707-521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @guykovner.

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