Alexandria, Va. — NATSO, representing America’s truckstops and travel plazas, and SIGMA: America’s Leading Fuel Marketers, issued the following statement today in response to the Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy’s announcement that $5 billion will be made available under the new National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to build out a national electric vehicle charging network:
“We applaud the Biden Administration for deploying funds under the electric vehicle formula program in a manner that directs states to contract with the private sector to install and operate electric vehicle charging to create a network of EV charging stations along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors.
NATSO and SIGMA, which collectively represent more than 80 percent of fuel retailers in the United States, have long held that President Biden’s goal of establishing a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations is best achieved by harnessing the existing nationwide network of refueling locations.
In prioritizing EV charging at “travel centers, food retailers, and convenience stores,” the administration reinforced recent definitive guidance issued by FHWA clarifying that state transportation departments may not implement or permit others to implement commercial services, including EV charging stations, within the Interstate right-of-way. Any reinterpretation of the longstanding law prohibiting commercial services, including EV chargers, at rest areas, would undermine the business case for private sector investment.
Today’s announcement, coupled with yesterday’s meeting between the administration and the electric utilities, signal that the administration is willing to facilitate a partnership that benefits both sectors as well as consumers.
Our industry understands that electric vehicle drivers will expect their driving and refueling experience to be as safe, seamless and predictable as it is today. There is no ‘range anxiety’ today for drivers of gas-powered vehicles. That is achievable for electric vehicles as well.
Our industry offers competitive and transparent pricing, prime real estate and the amenities that drivers want and need. Thousands of truckstops and travel centers are conveniently located less than one mile from highway exits, are highly visible and provide the amenities such as security, food, and restrooms that customers need while taking 20 to 30 minute breaks during long-distance travel. Widespread availability of DC fast chargers at these facilities will make consumers more comfortable purchasing EVs.
Similarly, smaller-format fuel retailers are found throughout the country, including in communities where most residents cannot reliably charge their electric vehicles overnight. These businesses are also well-suited for fast, on-the-go charging that does not require a full fill-up.
Fuel retailers have been partnering with states for years to increase access to price-competitive alternative fuels by filling infrastructure gaps along the National Highway System, including along FHWA’s designated alternative fuel corridors through the National Highway Charging Collaborative. FHWA has previously highlighted the National Highway Charging Collaborative as part of its Alternative Fuel Corridors Best Practices.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s just-released toolkit to help rural communities build out electric vehicle charging also acknowledged the critical role that our industry can play in expanding the EV charging market, citing EVs at truckstops as a ‘partnership success story.’
We look forward to continuing our discussions with the administration and state transportation departments as they implement funding to further encourage private-sector investment in electric vehicle charging.”
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