NATSO and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) urged the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to allow alternative fuel logos to be present on highway signs if, in addition to alternative fuel, the facility also provides foodservice and/or convenience stores, restrooms, and onsite employees who are able to contact law enforcement.
NATSO and NACS filed the comments
in response to proposed changes to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (“MUTCD”). NATSO and NACS are seeking to ensure that the MUTCD adequately informs customers of the availability of alternative fuels at the types of facilities that they expect when refueling. The proposed MUTCD would clarify that supplemental messages identifying an alternative fuel that is available may be added only to the business identification sign panels on the GAS Specific Services sign for a gas facility that provides an alternative fuel in addition to, rather than in lieu of, gasoline.
The associations further urged FHWA to ensure that the final rule aligns with driver expectations and clarify that with respect to EVs, only direct current (“DC”) fast chargers are eligible to be identified on highway signs.
The organizations, which represent 90 percent of retail sales of motor fuel said that although today their members primarily sell gasoline and diesel, many have invested in a variety of different alternative fuels, including electric vehicle (“EV”) charging stations, hydrogen, and natural gas, as well as biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.
As EVs grow as a percentage of the overall vehicle fleet, it is necessary to provide drivers of those vehicles with information regarding the availability of refueling facilities that are aligned with their expectations of a refueling facility’s attributes. This generally includes fast, efficient refueling options, foodservice, convenience stores, restrooms, and security (including employees that work onsite who are able to contact law enforcement should the need arise).
As such, the final rule should not use the availability of gasoline as the sole indicator that other attributes are present.
"The industry has demonstrated that they are prepared to sell any transportation energy technology that their customers desire," the groups wrote in their comments. "These comments are intended to ensure that the MUTCD adequately informs our customers of the availability of alternative fuels at the types of facilities that they expect when refueling. This will allow consumers to confidently gravitate toward vehicles that run on alternative fuels. The industry, in turn, will confidently invest in selling alternative fuels."
"Looking forward there may be scenarios where alternative fuels are available at facilities that do not sell gasoline, the associations wrote." The final rule should accommodate this by allowing alternative fuel logos to be present if, in addition to the alternative fuel, the facility also provides foodservice and/or convenience stores, restrooms, and onsite employees who are able to contact law enforcement."
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