NATSO is the trade association of America’s travel centers, truckstops, and off-highway transportation energy retailers. Founded in 1960, NATSO represents the industry on legislative and regulatory matters; serves as the official source of information on the diverse travel center, truckstop, and transportation energy retail industry; provides education to its members; conducts an annual convention and trade show; and supports efforts to generally improve the business climate in which its members operate.
Headquartered just outside Washington, D.C., NATSO is the only national trade association representing the travel plaza and truckstop industry. It represents more than 2,200 travel centers and truckstops nationwide, owned by over 260 corporate entities representing more than 16,000 fueling locations.
What NATSO Provides
NATSO advances the industry’s interests by influencing government action and public opinion on highway issues such as tolling, truck parking, upholding the national ban on rest area commercialization, introducing competition into the credit card networking marketplace, and promoting policies that create a diverse fuel supply.
In addition to NATSO’s government and public policy efforts, they connect members to resources that increase their profitability and position them for long-term success. NATSO (and its research, education, and public outreach subsidiary, the NATSO Foundation) provides its members with news updates, government affairs updates, an annual convention (NATSO Connect), an annual day-on-the-hill event, an annual leadership meeting, research, one-on-one store visits and recommendations, and the ability to join several specialty committees.
Through advocacy, information, and collaboration, NATSO serves and provides value to its members.
“There are many ways that NATSO provides value to its members. It makes your business stronger and makes a difference in your future profitability. There are so many ways to get involved, from events like Day on the Hill and NATSO Connect, to joining committees that help shape the future of the industry.”
Delia Moon Meier – Iowa 80 Group
“I love interacting with NATSO and its members because it gives me the opportunity to better collectively understand my customers. Vendors should join NATSO because it puts you in front of some of the most innovative, most influential, and largest travel centers across the country.”
Mike Newburn – DAS Companies, Inc.
“Travel center operators should become members of NATSO in order to retain additional resources they provide to help with operating their business, from everyday challenges to large legislative issues that impact the entire industry. NATSO embraces independent operators, large chains, and regional operations to make sure all voices contribute to the development of the industry.”
Rex Davis – Davis Travel Centers
“NATSO is such a fantastic organization because of the knowledge of the members and the camaraderie they've built together. I love working with NATSO members and staff because they're so knowledgeable and willing to help in any area I need. I can pick up the phone and call them to get information about anything I'd ever want to know about the industry.”
Tim Campbell – Interstate Health Systems
“The biggest hidden benefit of being a NATSO member is the relationships you make on a personal level with staff, vendors, and other members. It makes getting together at events like Day on the Hill and NATSO Connect almost like you are reengaging with friends and family. That’s something that you really can’t quantify, but it’s so valuable like when you have a question about anything, you can call other industry partners.”
Heather DeBaillie – Iowa 80 Group
Find Out More:
- Contact Us
- Connect with Staff
- NATSO Connect
- Buyer's Guide
- Chairman's Circle
About the Industry
The truckstop and travel center industry forms the vital backbone of the transportation sector, catering to the needs of professional drivers and the traveling public. These establishments have evolved beyond their traditional role as mere refueling points and resting areas, transforming into comprehensive service hubs that offer a wide array of amenities. Historically, the industry thrived due to its strategic locations along major highways and interstates. It provides drivers with essential services such as fuel, food, restrooms, and a safe place to park during resting periods. However, the landscape of this industry is undergoing rapid transformation due to emerging technologies and changing market dynamics.
One of the most significant shifts within the truckstop and travel center industry is the adoption of alternative fuels and electric vehicles (EVs). Truckstops and travel centers are fuel agnostic, only catering to the demands of their customers. Many locations are diversifying their fuel offerings to include options like biodiesel, renewable diesel, and electric charging stations. This adaptation aligns with changing consumer preferences and responds to stricter emissions regulations.
Furthermore, the truckstop and travel center industry embraces new retail technologies to enhance customer experience. From advanced point-of-sale systems to mobile apps that allow for seamless fuel payment and access to exclusive deals, these innovations streamline operations and engage customers in novel ways. Modern travel centers are incorporating digital signage for real-time updates on fuel prices, food, and general merchandise. Additionally, some establishments are experimenting with automated food ordering systems and touchless payment options, catering to travelers' growing demand for convenience.
NATSO members represent the travel center and off-highway retail fuel industry. The typical travel center is located within a quarter mile of the Interstate system and is essential to the free flow of people and goods throughout the United States. NATSO's members are often the largest taxpayers and employers in their communities.
Much of the industry's focus in recent years has been on navigating the energy transition in a way that responds to consumer demand while responsibly and proactively doing its part to lower carbon emissions. While agnostic as to what types of fuel they sell to satisfy consumer demand, NATSO members do have a bias: they believe it is best for the American consumer and America's industrial and geopolitical position in the world marketplace to have reasonably low and stable energy prices.