BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Fifty: That’s how many public gas stations remain in Manhattan, according to a 2016 analysis by The New York Times. That’s 30 fewer gas stations than were in operation in 2008, in a city where the local government alone uses more than 25 million gallons of fuel each year.
Brooklyn is trending in the same direction, warns a recent report, Fueling Brooklyn’s Future: Refueling Needs in a Resiliency Era, by the office of Borough President Eric Adams. A February 2017 analysis by the borough’s Land Use Department found that nine gas stations had closed in Brooklyn since Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Two more sites are under redevelopment. And zoning and development trends are putting an additional 12 gas stations at risk in the next two to three years.
“If the current trend continues, the impact will go beyond traditional gas-station consumers and have effects throughout the borough, whether one owns a vehicle or not,” the report states, noting how the fuel shortages after Superstorm Sandy highlighted this danger.
“A major disruption to our primary fuel source, combined with too few stations, would mean that deliveries to commercial and retail locations cannot be made and services cannot be provided with regularity, which would impact every Brooklynite,” according to the report.
The borough will be taking several actions to address the issue. They include:
- To protect existing fueling stations, Adams is asking the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) to create a zoning text amendment that would enable fueling stations in the state’s Fuel NY storm recovery corridors to transfer development rights more easily. To qualify, stations would need to add resilient power-generating measures, such as power generators and alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG), hydrogen and electric-vehicle (EV) charging.
- To reduce the borough’s reliance on fossil fuels, Adams would commit capital funding to the New York City Department of Transportation to locate EV charging stations. Brooklyn currently has around 60 charging stations.
- Adams is asking for New York City’s Economic Development Corp. to create incentives for fuel retailers to add alternative fuels, and for the state alternative fuel infrastructure credit to be renewed and doubled before it expires at the end of 2017.
- The borough is also calling on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to expand the Fuel NY initiative to provide backup power supply at all of Brooklyn’s fueling sites. This would include solar panels, wind power and other energy technologies not dependent on the power grid or on generators.
“Given rising land values, we are certain to be facing fuel deserts in our borough in the coming years unless we incentivize land owners to protect current uses,” the report concludes. “We must work together to develop a plan that balances access to fueling stations with well-thought-out development across Brooklyn.”