On May 30, 2011, the City of Surrey, British Columbia passed a bylaw requiring that all new gasoline stations built in Surrey sell, in addition to traditional gasoline, diesel and propane, at least one "alternative fuel".

For the purpose of the bylaw, alternative fuels include compressed natural gas, hydrogen, and electric vehicle recharging stations.

The new bylaw is consistent with Surrey's broad push towards environmental sustainability, which includes such measures as implementing a fleet of green municipal vehicles and providing hydrogen fueling stations.

Said the mayor of Surrey, Dianne Watts,

"We want to build the alternative fuel infrastructure of the future. It's important for governments to set an example and lead the way in terms of advancing new technologies. By requiring service stations to provide an alternative energy source, Surrey will be encouraging and promoting new energy sources and reinforcing our position as a leader in this sector."

The measure may be controversial and is expected to be challenged. Municipalities in British Columbia have limited authority to pass bylaws only in those areas which are listed in British Columbia Community Charter. It is not clear that mandating the sale of alternative fuels is within Surrey's municipal jurisdiction, particularly as the Provincial government is already regulating the formulation of alternative fuels, as well as other related clean air and climate change matters, under the Environmental Management Act.

For a copy of Surrey's announcement, see here. A copy of the bylaw is not yet available.

UPDATE: Surrey's news release and other materials originally indicated that council had implemented mandatory requirements for alternative fuels. Later news reports indicate that council has only passed a motion directing city staff to investigate the possibility of implementing such a requirement.