California’s gas-car phaseout brings turmoil to mom-and-pop gas stations
At the corner of Broadway and Crenshaw in the Oakland hills, in one of the oldest gas stations in Riverside County, there are no pumps. Or a sign. Or a sign saying how long it takes to fill your tank and how much it will cost to fill it.
And then there are the two empty tanks in the pumps, because the pumps are no longer working, either.
Two weeks ago, Chevron was pumping fuel at the location on Broadway, which is inside a large, newly renovated warehouse on a 10-acre plot of land that Chevron built a couple years ago. This is where they store their gas tanks.
Now, Chevron is no longer in business. A Chevron gas station on Broadway is gone, never to return. A Chevron gas station is a memory, no more.
Chevron is leaving because it can’t afford to keep those pumps running. It is facing a huge bill from the California Public Utility Commission because it shut down two of its stations without notifying the commission — something is broken at the pump, and the state is making Chevron pay for it.
When the pumps and the rest of the gas station are put out of business, it will cost them almost $250,000 a day — on top of the millions of dollars in property damage they’ve caused — to rebuild, in some cases.
And that doesn’t address how it will affect thousands of families in Riverside County who will need to make major financial adjustments to their lives.
It’s not just the Chevron family who is struggling. This is the county, which is faced with the loss of its largest employer in the city of Oxnard, and the one-two punch of thousands of people losing their jobs and losing their health insurance from the Affordable Care Act. In many cases, they have lost their only source of gas.
When the news of the shutdown of the pumps broke, residents who had spent the day filling up, or at the very least, walking into the gas station to fill up their tanks, were stunned.
“I’ve been going in there for years,” says Mary Bierman