Worcester will not ban new gas stations from being built anytime soon.

During a weekly meeting Tuesday night, City Council killed a citizen petition to consider changing zoning regulations to prohibit the construction of new gas stations. Activists and councilors who supported the petition cited both a concern for climate change and a desire to aid the city's plan to become carbon neutral by 2045. But a majority of councilors argued that the ban was premature because of how many gas-powered cars remain on the roads.

“The percentage of cars that are electric is so small,” Councilor Morris Bergman said. “[It] doesn’t to me speak of a sense of urgency of removing the possibility for future gas stations. That day will come. But it’s far away.”

Council voted 6-5 to file the petition insteading of moving it forward to committee. Mayor Joseph Petty cast the deciding vote.

Bans on construction of new gas stations are uncommon in the United States — though at least one city in California has enacted such a ban. Worcester would have become the first locality in Massachusetts to prohibit their construction if the zoning change became law. Instead, the council voted 10-1 on a separate order to have a general discussion about encouraging the use of electric vehicles.

“I am sensing the urgency of climate change and the need to shift to a greener Worcester,” said Councilor Thu Nguyen, who supported the ban. “We’re the ones that create the future, and I think a lot of people actually want us to start creating it and not just wait.”

There are currently at least 30 gas stations around Worcester, according to Google Maps and state records for underground gas storage permits. Many are clustered around the city’s urban center, but there are few stations in the city’s suburban northwest section.

Councilors Etel Haxhiaj and Khrystian King argued that Worcester doesn’t need more gas stations, and building additional ones would create competition for existing stations. More competition could lead to cheaper gas prices, King said, which would actually slow down the transition to electric cars.

But the zoning change proposal was too aggressive for Councilors Bergman, Petty, Donna Colorio, Kathleen Toomey, George Russell and Candy Mero-Carlson. Councilor Sean Rose, who voted to move the proposal forward, said he supported more discussion about it, but did not agree with changing the ordinance.

Bergman, who repeatedly denounced the ban, said gas stations generate local tax revenue and provide business and opportunities for people, noting that stations often include doughnut shops and mechanical services. He acknowledged the city must transition to renewable energy to address climate change. However, he argued the Green Worcester Plan, which council adopted last year, doesn’t call for addressing gas stations until 2045.

“Nine months after we all unanimously agreed that the timetable would be decades, not months, I would caution my colleagues to not support this,” Bergman said. “It’s a slippery slope. ... Is the next item going to be zoning out car dealerships that don’t sell anything but electric cars?”

Worcester residents and business owners also spoke out against the proposed ban during the meeting. Robert Branca, who owns gas stations around the city, said the ban wouldn’t decrease carbon emissions. He added that some newer stations are outfitted with technology that will allow them to transition from dispending gas to charging electric vehicles.

“It might be better to adapt existing zoning laws to require those types of underground systems so that when [electric cars] become more widely available … stations won’t become obsolete,” Branca said.