San Francisco, Berkeley Set Precedent With Carbon Labels at Gas Stations

People living in the San Francisco area could feel a bit more guilt when fueling their cars because soon there will be a "carbon label" right on the gas nozzle.

The idea is to help keep the connection between their behavior and climate change fresh in their minds.

San Francisco and Berkeley both passed legislation requiring gas station owners to put "climate change warning labels" on all gas pump nozzles. The labels say how much carbon dioxide is emitted for every gallon of gas burned. 

One label Berkeley considered:

Car Carbon Label

Like the label on cigarette packs, this one will say: "The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that a typical passenger vehicle burning one gallon of fuel produces on average almost 20 pounds of tailpipe carbon dioxide (CO2), which the EPA has determined is the primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco.

Kind of long and winding, but it gets the point across. Labels will appear as of March 1, 2015, with fines ranging from $100-$500 for gas stations that don’t comply.  

Of course, the
Western States Petroleum Association is up in arms, reports The Daily Californian. It violates gas station owners First Amendment rights! complains Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the association. Government can’t force a business to state information unless it prevents consumer deception, she insists. Will they sue or just apply constant pressure until the cities give up?

On the national level, stickers on new cars are also changing. Last year, they started including information that helps people compare  vehicle greenhouse gas and smog-forming emissions in addition to fuel economy. And soon they will indicate the kinds of fuels they can run on: ethanol, biodiesel, vegetable oil, hydrogen or electric batteries.

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Comments on “San Francisco, Berkeley Set Precedent With Carbon Labels at Gas Stations”

  1. Frank Rivera

    It might make the city council members feel good about themselves to sanctimoniously force the gas station owners to place these stickers on their pumps, but I think it’s a complete waste of time and resources. I’m sure the citizens of these cities are fully aware that their cars contribute to air pollution. A better sticker would be one on all meat and dairy products alerting everyone to the fact that the world’s 1.5 billion cows and billions of other grazing animals emit dozens of polluting gases, including lots of methane. Two-thirds of all ammonia comes from cows. More people probably are unaware of that fact. Use the same sticker. Just change the car to a cow, the O to an H and the 2 to a 4. Done!


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