Fuel Industry Groups Push for Private Investment in EV Charging Stations

NACS, NATSO and SIGMA urge the U.S. Department of Transportation to drive policies that will positively shape the future of electric vehicle fast-charging markets.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — NACS, NATSO and SIGMA are working together to incentivize the nation's existing refueling locations to incorporate electric vehicle (EV) charging stations into their operations as part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula grant program.

The three fuel retailing groups urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to implement the NEVI grant program to drive policies that will positively shape the future of EV fast-charging markets. In total, NACS, NATSO and SIGMA represent more than 150,000 refueling locations nationwide.

"Retail fuel companies are capable of single-handedly eliminating range anxiety," said David Fialkov, NATSO executive vice president of government affairs. "All they need is a level playing field and an opportunity to generate a modest return. EV charging availability at existing retail fuel locations will mean drivers do not need to change their refueling habits if they choose not to. They can refuel on-the-go with the same safe, reliable service and amenities that they enjoy today."

Fuel retailers encouraged the U.S. DOT to: 

  • Flexibly administer the requirement that states locate EV charging stations every 50 miles along designated corridors.
  • Refrain from regulating or capping revenue earned from private sector operation of a NEVI-subsidized EV charging station. 
  • Establish a transparent and uniform pricing structure across the charging station network, requiring NEVI-funded charging operators to display and base the price of electrical charge in dollars per kilowatt hour. A uniform, transparent pricing structure would allow consumers to compare offerings throughout the country. 

"Bringing private investment to EV charging will lead to more of the infrastructure that drivers need," said Doug Kantor, NACS general counsel. "To do that, the NEVI Program should move the country toward a competitive EV charging market with a multitude of retail businesses in all parts of the country having the opportunity to invest and earn a profit. 

"Encouraging private investment will mean state-of-the-art chargers in convenient locations with competitively low prices alongside the types of amenities that drivers have come to expect while they refuel," Kantor added. 

Additionally, fuel retailers requested the U.S. DOT: 

  • Encourage states to allow EV charging station operators to sell electricity to EV drivers without being regulated as a utility. In many states, utilities are opposing efforts by prospective charging station operators to generate their own electricity to power their charging stations. 
  • Require states to consider driver safety and convenience by locating chargers at sites that have on-site employees to call emergency personnel when needed and offer amenities that attract other highway travelers. Co-locating charging stations with 24/7 amenities will invariably make consumers more comfortable purchasing an EV without concern for undue safety risks when refueling. 
  • Avoid bureaucratic hurdles that would inadvertently depress the market for electric vehicle charging. The "Buy America" provision, for example, requires charging station equipment to be manufactured in the United States yet virtually no equipment on the market today meets the "Buy America standards." Such requirements would significantly delay charging projects. 

"If NEVI investments are made without any effort to drive necessary policy and market reforms, the program will result in charging stations being placed in undesirable locations and likely operated by site hosts with limited incentive to provide consumers with a positive charging experience," said Richard Guttman, chairman of the SIGMA board of directors. "This ultimately will dampen consumer interest in purchasing EVs as well as charging station innovation."