There are over 12,000 gas stations in Canada and about 100,000 in the U.S. That’s a lot of real estate. And as gas cars become obsolete, so too will services catering to ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles. It’s not a question of if but rather when electric vehicles will make gas stations obsolete. EVs are sure to dominate the car market withing a decade.
Gas Stations Obsolete
Climate change will create business opportunities for some but also be the death knell of businesses providing services for gas-powered cars. “Gas stations and the pollutions they bring to communities'”will all but disappear reports The Guardian.
Factors driving this change:
- Drivers are fed up of paying outrageous amounts of money for fuel every time there’s an international incident.
- Climate concerns have raised awareness among car buyers of the imperative to make lifestyle changes.
- Breakthroughs in battery technology have brought the cost of batteries down to 10% from what it was a decade ago. And this cost is expected to plummet even further in the years ahead. With even more innovations on the way, we can expect denser and lighter batteries that will improve performance and range.
- Cheaper maintenance costs – EVs have fewer moving parts than fuel-based vehicles.
- Governments in California, Canada and the EU are mandating an end to new gas car sales by 2035 — a response to global climate change initiatives and the need to reach zero-carbon by 2050.
- Even local governments are beginning to take action by prohibiting new gas stations. In California, at least five cities have already made the announcement while others are at the policy formulation stage.
- Government incentive programs to support the transition to zero-emissions vehicles are driving change.
Gas stations are Environmental Hazards
“Gas stations, by their very nature, are environmental hazards,” says The Guardian. Many are contaminated by oil and gas from old leaky underground tanks which are no longer in use. “While in operation, gas stations pose serious risks to the health of people in nearby homes, businesses, and schools. Gas stations emit dangerous levels of the known carcinogen benzene and ozone, which causes respiratory problems and asthma.”
The transition to clean vehicles will leave thousands of stranded gas stations behind. The gas station as we know it is doomed to fade into the sunset just like the livery stables of the early 1900s.
G7: Steer Us to Safety Now
It’s Time To Stop Fixing the Old and Start Building the New
Big Oil Reality Check: Failure To Meet Bare Minimum On Climate
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
My guess is that gas stations will go through a dramatic evolution to remain relevant for servicing transportation. In time, gas pumps will be replaced by quick-charge EV, and hydrogen fueling units. I expect these will be powered by both grid and off-grid renewable energy. Electrolyzers may become part of this future evolved service station. The question is will we need as many sites as currently are required to service cars and trucks running on diesel and gasoline. As for when the transition will occur, my guess is we won’t see a significant change until the mid-2030s.
I agree Len. We have a decade to go before we can comfortably travel long distances with EVs as Pam’s experience described in her comment shows.
Thank you for the feedback.
I recently drove from Victoria to Ottawa in an EV. The battery technology is certainly there. What is lacking are functional quick-charge EV chargers! Many chargers are poorly maintained … either not quick charge as advertised or not functional. It was nerve-wracking travel through much of the prairies and northern Ontario. I stopped at most of the EV chargers along the route, the Trans Canada for pete’s sake, just to top up and ensure there was enough power available to make it to the next charging station. The trip took nearly twice as long as it would have otherwise.
Welcome to Below2C Pam.
Although the EV world is just around the corner, we’ve got ways to go as you point out. The transition will take another decade as Len Rosen points out in his comment to this article.
Thanks for sharing your experience.