A diverse array of Democratic Members of Congress, including the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, urged lawmakers considering clean energy and infrastructure legislation to ensure that policies and incentives designed to develop a charging network for electric vehicles (EVs) result in a price-competitive and convenient refueling marketplace for consumers.
Seventeen Democratic Representatives, including House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), said in a June 24 letter that policies which ensure a partnership between the utility sector and fuel retailers for electric vehicle fast-charging stations represent the “most efficient, economical, and effective way to lower the carbon footprint of transportation fuel and facilitate a faster transition by the American driver to EVs.” The letter was also signed by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, Co-Chair of bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, and several members of the moderate Democrat Blue Dog Coalition.
The letter was sent to the Chairman and Ranking Members of the House Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce.
The Democratic lawmakers also urged Committee Leaders to avoid counterproductive policies that undermine the business case for fuel retailers, especially small business fuel marketers and off-highway businesses, to install charging stations, including allowing the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure at rest areas or increasing costs on all utility ratepayers to underwrite utility investments in charging stations.
Although such policies may “appear to be quick and easy solutions,” the lawmakers wrote, “in practice they would weaken either utilities' incentives to upgrade and modernize the power grid, or retailers' incentive to invest in charging infrastructure. … We will encourage EV adaptation and work to decrease carbon emissions and fight climate change by ensuring the transition is as easy as possible for the consumer.”
Signatories included Representatives Luis Correa (D-Calif.); Maxine Waters (D-Calif.); Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.); Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.); Deborah Ross (D-N.C.); Dean Phillips (D-Minn.); Danny Davis (D-Ill.); Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.); Ron Kind (D-Wisc.); Henry Cuellar (D-Texas); Cindy Axne (D-Iowa); Sean Casten (D-Ill.); Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas); Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. (D-Georgia); Matt Cartwright (D-Penna.); Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Georgia) and Ed Case (D-Hawaii).
The lawmakers who signed the letter represent Members of the Congressional Small Business Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Blue Dog Coalition, New Democrat Coalition, Climate Solutions Caucus, and the Problem Solvers among others.
NATSO has long held that a coherent framework of national policies that harness the core competencies of the utility and retail fuel sectors would ensure a nationwide network of EV charging stations.
Pilot Co. Chief Executive Officer Shameek Konar testified on behalf of NATSO before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in March for its hearing “Business Solutions to Climate Change.” During the hearing, Konar encouraged lawmakers to structure and implement policies that encourage utilities and fuel retailers to focus where each is most productive.
Metroplex Energy President A.J. Siccardi in May testified on behalf of NATSO, NACS and SIGMA for a House subcommittee hearing on "The CLEAN Future Act: Driving Decarbonizaion of the Transportation Sector." Siccardi testified that federal policy should incentivize and leverage private investment in bringing alternative fuels, including electricity, to market and should not undercut incentives for retailers to invest in alternatives such as EV charging. Metroplex is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NATSO member RaceTrac.
In the June 24 letter, lawmakers underscored that the power grid needs to be modernized and updated to handle anticipated future demand for electricity. They also said that market dynamics that govern the retail fuel market today should be replicated to accommodate electric vehicles. Consumers should have multiple recharging options in high traffic locations all competing for their business on price, speed, quality of service, and other amenities. “Fuel retailers are best positioned to own and operate EV charging stations and provide transportation energy to consumers,” they wrote.
“The United States currently has the most advanced fueling infrastructure in the world. Our current system was built through private sector investment to provide fueling services in locations convenient to motorists, from highway truck stops to local convenience stores,” they wrote. “As our economy transitions to cleaner transportation fuels envisioned by policy makers and the American Jobs Plan, we believe that the private sector is best positioned to match the growth and demand for EV charging.”
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