Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Fewer CT gas stations expected following state’s push for EVs

Since the first gasoline service stations began popping up across Connecticut a century ago, the industry has weathered a number of tectonic shifts.

First, there was the addition of lead that created different grades of gasoline in the 1920s. In the postwar years, there was the advent of self-service pumps and convenience stores grew as a source of revenue in place of traditional full-service garages. 

Later on, environmental laws mandated the installation of systems to reduce the release of harmful vapors and in 1996, the nation-wide ban on leaded gasoline followed. Around the same time, smaller stations found themselves increasingly competing with grocery stores and wholesaler chains entering the fuel business. 

None of these changes, however, loomed as large as the rise of the electric car. 

Last month, Gov. Ned Lamont formally announced the development of new regulations that will phase-out the sale of new internal-combustion engine vehicles by 2035, in line with about a dozen other states that have made a similar pledge toward cutting carbon emissions. 

While gas-powered cars will likely remain on the roads for decades after the new regulations take effect, their decline will likely force roughly 20 percent of the existing gas stations in Connecticut to close, said Michael Fox, executive director of the Greenwich-based Gasoline & Automotive Service Dealers of America. 

“Certainly, we’re going to see less and less service stations in Connecticut,” Fox said. “That is going to have a devastating impact on competition and prices.” 

The number of gas stations in Connecticut has already dropped by more than half, from a peak of over 2,500 stations in the 1980s to 1,156 according to Fox’s latest count. Those numbers do not include car dealerships with a license to pump gas to their customers.

Many smaller stations, particularly in low-volume areas, were driven out of business by the cost of regulations and expensive upgrades, such as replacing underground storage tanks, Fox said. 


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