It’s Tuesday, March 9, and a California city is banning gas stations.

Petaluma, California — a small city 40 miles north of San Francisco — just put itself on the climate map. After a city council vote, the municipality of 60,000 people is poised to become the first city in the U.S. to ban the construction of new gasoline stations.

The new ordinance also prevents the city’s 16 existing stations from adding new gas pumps. Instead,they will be encouraged to add electric vehicle chargers. The announcement comes on the heels of pledges from major automakers to revamp their cars to run on electricity: Volvo has promised to go all-electric by 2030, and General Motors is planning to do the same by 2035.

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Petaluma has made big promises to combat climate change in recent years — the city declared a “climate emergency” in 2019 and has released a plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. But the gas station ban is a solid, concrete step toward a zero-carbon future — one that has attracted attention from around the world.

“To me, it’s really important we’re not just ticking off boxes,” Mayor Teresa Barrett told the Petaluma Argus Courier. “If we want to be carbon neutral by 2030, we have to make these changes.”

Shannon Osaka

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The Smog

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Emily Pontecorvo