California’s gas-car phaseout brings turmoil to mom-and-pop gas stations
At a glance, Lillian Stoddard’s mom-and-pop gas station is modest, unassuming and even slightly boring. But at its peak, she said it had 30 cars pull in to fill up.
“What drove it was how much service I got. I had two gas cars, which I made out of spare parts, and one for oil changes. I had a second car that was a wrecker. It blew its motor. If I ever saw that car again, it would be the wrecker,” Stoddard said in an interview.
Stoddard’s mom-and-pop gas station is tiny — one garage for five different businesses — and when she opened it, the service was spotty at best. That’s when she decided to invest in a computerized system in a more expansive garage to better serve her customers.
So how does a mom and pop gas station make it on California’s new gas-car phase-out list? In 2012, when PG&E began removing gas from all but the smallest gas stations, gas prices soared by nearly 60 cents.
The price of gas has since stabilized, but by the end of 2018, the only way to save money on fuel is to do without it at your gas station.
“For years, you could keep your gas at your gas station, and take it with you wherever you went. You didn’t have to buy a whole new car, because gas was the same price everywhere. It was affordable. You didn’t have to do big gas expenses,” said Jeff Kocian, a petroleum engineer, who works for Fuel Cell Energy, a company that sells replacement fuel cells.
But now with California’s gas-car phaseout, as many gas stations switch to electric cars, the mom-and-pop gas stations are feeling the consequences of California’s