Fuel Groups Push for Federal Support of Private Investment in EV Charging Infrastructure

EV charging station

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing; NATSO, the national association representing truck stops and travel plazas; the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA); and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) came together to issue a statement encouraging legislators to support private investment in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure on May 22.

The organizations also asked lawmakers to reconsider a provision of the Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow's (LIFT) America Act, or H.R.2741, which would allow public utilities to use rate payer dollars to invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

NATSO, NACS, PMAA, and SIGMA believe private sector involvement in the installation of EV charging stations is key to meeting the driving public's fueling needs, and their members are working to invest in that infrastructure, according to the statement.

However, allowing public utilities to unfairly compete against the private sector by utilizing rate payer dollars to make such investments will effectively destroy the incentive for private sector investment, the groups wrote in a letter to Congressmen Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-Ore.)

This practice also unfairly places the burden for infrastructure developments onto the shoulders of low-income Americans, they noted.

"We all favor increased electric vehicle charging infrastructure," said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. "But for EVs to be successful, policies should seek to attract private investment into EV charging so that we build and foster a dynamic, competitive marketplace for EV fueling. That type of market has served current vehicle owners well and would serve future vehicle owners."

Utilities get a leg up into the market without putting capital investments at risk when public utility commissions allow utilities to utilize rate payer dollars to underwrite their investments in EV charging, the organizations wrote. This discourages fuel retailers from investing in EV charging, as they cannot compete with utilities in this environment, resulting in fewer EV charging stations for consumers, and ultimately, less adoption of EVs.

"We have no objection to utility companies investing in EV charging infrastructure provided they do so via their unregulated businesses," said Paige Anderson, NACS director of government relations. "This would result in a level playing field, where all parties are putting capital at risk and have similar incentives to respond to consumer demand and compete on quality and price."

PMAA President Rob Underwood added: "With a monopoly position, utility companies will be able to charge consumers more for electricity than the market would bear. And, utility companies will never be able to replicate the ubiquity and convenience of the private sector fueling market.

"More than 100,000 retail locations provide fuel to American consumers every day. For electric charging to reach that type of market coverage, we must have private investment," he noted.

Brad Puryear, president of SIGMA, said the association understand the need to develop electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and that they are working to invest in that infrastructure and have been doing so for some time.

"But funding that development through electricity ratepayers will result in less EV charging infrastructure and will create a regressive funding scheme that is not fair to low-income Americans," the executive explained.

Together, NATSO, NACS, PMAA and SIGMA represent approximately 90 percent of retail sales of motor fuel in the United States.