Fuel and Retail Organizations Urge DOT to Encourage Investment in Electric Vehicle Charging Locations

NATSO, representing truck stops and travel hubs, along with SIGMA and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), have urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to encourage existing refueling points nationwide to integrate the charging of electric vehicles (EVs) in their suite of refueling options as part of the implementation of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) formula grant program.

The organizations, representing more than 150,000 refueling locations nationwide, urged DOT to implement the NEVI grant program in a way that not only invests public funds, but guides policies that will positively shape the future of fast vehicle charging markets. If federal investments are made without any effort to drive needed policy and market reforms, or with unnecessary strings attached, the NEVI grant program will result in the placement of charging stations in undesirable locations, limiting consumer interest in charging. purchase of electric vehicles and minimizing the desire of private companies to invest in charging stations, point out NATSO, NACS and SIGMA in comments filed with the DOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

“Fuel retailers can single-handedly eliminate range anxiety,” said David Fialkov, NATSO’s executive vice president of government affairs. “All they need is a level playing field and an opportunity to generate a modest return. The availability of electric vehicle charging at existing retail outlets will mean that drivers no “Will not need to change their refueling habits if they choose not to. They can refuel on the go with the same safe and reliable service and equipment they enjoy today.”

“Bringing private investment into electric vehicle charging will lead to more of the infrastructure that drivers need,” comments Doug Kantor, general counsel for NACS. “To do this, the NEVI program should move the country towards a competitive electric vehicle charging market with a multitude of retail businesses in all regions of the country with the opportunity to invest and make profits. private investment will mean state-of-the-art charging stations in convenient locations with competitive low prices as well as the kinds of amenities drivers expect when filling up.

“If NEVI’s investments are made without any effort to drive needed policy and market reforms, the program will result in charging stations placed in undesirable locations and likely operated by web hosts with limited incentive to offer consumers a positive charging experience,” added Richard Guttman, Chairman of the Board of SIGMA. “This will ultimately dampen consumer interest in purchasing electric vehicles as well as innovation in charging stations.”

Fuel retailers have specifically encouraged the DOT to flexibly administer the requirement that states place electric vehicle charging stations every 50 miles along designated corridors. Rather than forcing states to meet an arbitrary 50-mile requirement when that is not possible, DOT should ensure that states can administer the program according to their specific needs, especially in rural states, by working with the private sector as required by law.

The organizations asked the DOT to forbear from regulating or capping revenue from the private sector operation of a NEVI-subsidized electric vehicle charging station. Regulated utilities should be prevented from imposing exorbitant rate increases on their monthly customers to secure the investments in NEVI-funded charging stations that the private sector is willing to make.

Additionally, the organizations want DOT to establish a transparent and consistent pricing structure across the entire charging station network, requiring NEVI-funded charging operators to display and base the price of electric charging in dollars per kWh. A uniform and transparent price structure would allow consumers to compare offers across the country.

They want to see states encouraged to allow EV charging station operators to sell electricity to EV drivers without being regulated as a utility. In many states, utilities are resisting efforts by would-be charging station operators to generate their own electricity to power their charging stations. This opposition reflects an effort by regulated utilities to undermine the case for private investment in charging stations and inhibits the penetration of electric vehicles.

The organizations are urging the DOT to require states to consider driver safety and convenience by placing chargers at sites that have employees on site to call emergency personnel when needed and provide amenities that attract other travelers to the highway. The collocation of charging stations with 24/7 conveniences will invariably make consumers more comfortable purchasing an electric vehicle without worrying about excessive safety risks when refueling.

Additionally, the organizations hope the government will avoid bureaucratic hurdles that would inadvertently depress the EV charging market. The “Buy America” provision, for example, requires charging station equipment to be made in the United States, but virtually no equipment on the market today meets “Buy America standards”. Such requirements would significantly delay pricing projects.

Comments are closed.