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Guest Opinion: Citrus Heights should mandate more EV charging stations

Guest Opinion by David Warren–
As I decided to reconsider my decision to refill my automobile’s fuel tank at the Citrus Heights Costco due to the line of cars which had spilled out onto Auburn Blvd., I was reminded that the City had posted signs indicating further development for the shopping area.  The City had previously posted proposals for the development of the Sunrise Mall, although the City has little ability to determine the actual scope of development by the property owners.

David Warren

The lengthy delay to purchase the gasoline was precipitated by the recent extraordinary unexpected increase in the price per gallon for gasoline.  Although the cause of the increase likely depends upon your political view point, i.e., if you are a conservative, it was caused by liberal’s creating impediments to the increase of (1) fossil fuel production or (2) taxes on gasoline precipitated by the threat of global warming, or if you are a liberal, resistance to timely decreasing the use of fossil fuels which has delayed the adoption alternate energy production for the use of electric vehicles and home and business heating and cooling by way of example.

The simple fact is that the increased use of electricity to power motor vehicles is now as inevitable due to both domestic and foreign pressures upon automobile manufacturers as the use of “horseless carriages” was which threatened horse owners a century ago.

Recently, China has required that automakers vehicle sales must consist of 40% electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. India, another country which is increasing demand for motor vehicles, has instituted policies to increase EV sales.  BloombergNEF forecasts EV sales to make up 23 percent of total US passenger car sales in 2025, and 51 percent by 2030.

Notwithstanding these examples of the increased need for electric vehicle charging stations, none of the development proposals recently presented to the Planning Commission or the City Council include mandatory installation of EV charging spaces in commercial parking lots. The glaring absence in the City’s Sunrise Mall development plan or of any other commercial development proposals of a single additional electric vehicle charging station must be of concern because the City cannot, using the proverbial ostrich metaphor, stick the City’s municipal future’s head in the sand, when it comes to the immediate future need for EV charging stations.

Unlike an internal combustion powered vehicle which can take only minutes at the fuel pump, recharging times for an electric vehicle takes more than a few minutes. By way of example, recent news stories from the United Kingdom have reported numerous incidents of irate individuals arguing over who is next in line to recharge their vehicles, including incidents of individuals removing the charging cable from another vehicle and fisticuffs developing outside of grocery stores, restaurants and other locations. One need look no further than past events here in California when fuel shortages created interminably long lines accompanied by tension which too often boiled over to the point that it required public safety intervention.

Although not yet mandated by any California statutory requirement until 2035, it is clear that motor vehicle manufacturing in the next decade will require a significant increase in the number of charging stations at commercial locations beyond those located in individual homes. The City should now proactively mandate that any commercial improvement include the installation of for-a-fee electric vehicle recharging stations in parking lots which do not presently have such equipment. EV charging equipment is now both readily available and there is a commonality of electrical connections for numerous vehicles.

The long lines at the Costco gasoline station portend difficult times in the immediate future for both fossil fuels and electric recharging of vehicles. Now is the time to initiate planning for the City’s energy needs for 2035, which although more than a decade away, when it comes to overcoming typical governmental inertia, is but a few moments on government’s timeline.

If Citrus Heights is going to live up to its motto of “Solid roots, new growth,” action can no longer be delayed. Mere words are no longer enough. One can only hope that the City will act to prevent “charge rage” incidents which will require police intervention by implementing mandatory installation of for-fee EV charging stations in business parking areas.

David Warren is a legislative advocate at the State Capitol with Taxpayers for Public Safety, and can be reached at

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