The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that it is establishing 48 national electric vehicle charging corridors on highways covering 25,000 miles in 35 states under an initiative to increase the deployment of plug-in electric vehicles.
Under the initiative, 28 states, utilities, and vehicle manufacturers have committed to increasing electric vehicle deployment. Additionally 24 state and local governments have committed to increase the number of electric vehicles in their government fleets.
Additionally, the Department of Energy plans to publish two studies early next year in support of the deployment initiative. The first will review optimal electric vehicle charging scenarios – including along the recently announced natural fuel corridors. The second study aims to provide best practices for EV fast charging installation, system specifications, site location, power availability as well as capital costs.
NATSO plans to meet with DOT and DOE officials and will update NATSO members with additional information as it becomes available.
NATSO will continue to urge DOT – as it has in previous meetings and in written comments filed with the agency -- to harness the knowledge and ingenuity of existing exit-based businesses for private investment for alternative fuel infrastructure without preempting consumer demand or forcing the private sector to compete with the government. Furthering alternative fueling facilities, such as natural gas and electric vehicle charging stations, is best realized if the travel plaza and truckstop industry's business environment is recognized as an asset.
NATSO by and large supports efforts to expand the use of alternative fuels for transportation, and thinks its members' locations could play a vital role in establishing alternative fuel corridors. However, NATSO strongly opposes the installation of alternative-fueling stations at rest areas and thinks states should work with existing exit-based businesses to install them at private businesses. Furthermore, NATSO thinks that state governments should not provide transportation fuel paid for with tax dollars.
Offering electric charging services or natural gas at rest areas would allow the state to enter into direct competition with the private businesses already operating near the interstate exit interchanges to meet the fueling needs of the motoring public. In addition, state governments would preempt consumer demand for new technology and emerging fuels, effectively destroying the incentive for private sector investment.
DOT’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on Nov. 3 announced its initial round of alternative fuel corridor designations as Congressionally mandated under the December 2015 highway bill titled Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
The alternative fuel corridors include 55 routes that the agency said will serve as the basis for a national network of alternative fuel corridors spanning 35 states. The network is nearly 85,000 miles long, with additional miles planned for the future to accommodate electric, hydrogen, propane and natural gas vehicles as additional fueling and charging stations are built.
FHWA has provided a map illustrating the corridors that can be found here.
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