WASHINGTON (Oct. 23, 2019) – A recent comprehensive study of state regulation found California to be the most regulated state in the nation. The state’s conflicting rules slow innovation in sectors like automotive fueling.

In a new policy study, R Street Resident Fellow on Transportation and Infrastructure Nick Zaiac finds that the automotive fuel market is decentralizing. Better environmental regulation of fuel tanks and changing economics have given rise to a market for gasoline delivery.

He goes on to show how a decentralized fuel market struggles with existing rules designed around traditional gas stations and stationary fuel depots. New entrants face many layers of regulation from state agencies, fire and air quality districts, and local government officials.

Zaiac claims that states stand to benefit by harmonizing transportation and delivery rules. This would allow the automotive fuel market to evolve in response to changing technology and consumer demand.

He concludes that “different areas of California have different fire risks, so legislators designed fire rules to reflect that. Normally, this does not cause many headaches, as most of the codes are similar enough not to matter much. But, for certain industries that operate across fire districts, building construction and transportation particularly, the costs of a patchwork of similar-but-sometimes-different fire codes can quickly grow to cost-prohibitive levels.”