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Fuel Retailers Call for Application Standardization for Federal EV Funding Program

Trade associations raise concerns about creating a disparate, state-by-state market experience for drivers.
An electric vehicle charging at a public EV charging station

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Three major industry associations representing a wide range of fuel retailers urged the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to better harmonize state application standards under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) grant program to ensure that consumers' charging experiences are consistent from state to state.

[Read more: Five Takeaways From NATSO Connect 2024]

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NATSO, SIGMA and NACS suggested the federal agency consider the following when reviewing and approving subsequent state plans for distributing grant funding:

  • Prioritize driver amenities, such as 24/7 food and beverage offerings, restrooms and on-site staff. The FHWA should ensure that states require site hosts to offer positive consumer experiences by assessing proposed charging stations' surrounding amenities.
  • Prohibit states from issuing grant awards to applicants without committed site host agreements with site owners. Proposals with candidate sites that rely upon future infrastructure or development create a significant risk that those developments may not advance as anticipated.
  • Prohibit caps on rate-of-return or revenue sharing requirements, which can limit the ability of fuel retailers to make a return on investment and discourage private businesses from applying for NEVI grants.
  • Discourage overly restrictive evaluation areas, ensuring grants go to the best individual site rather than allowing state Department of Transportation agencies to group highway segments and award them to a single bidder. 
  • Ensure adequate time for grant solicitations, providing at least a 90- to 120-day response time and establishing clear application expectations.
  • Allow a variety of connector types to be eligible under the NEVI Program.

"NEVI dollars can go the furthest when they mobilize grant recipients to not only install charging stations but also to provide an ongoing, positive consumer experience for EV drivers even after the NEVI program lapses," the three organizations stated in their comments. "The more attractive and ubiquitous this experience is for consumers, the more comfortable they will be buying [electric vehicles] EVs. This, in turn, will further incentivize charging station investments even in the absence of government support."

More than half of all EV charging stations under the NEVI grant program are set to be constructed at truck stops, travel centers and other fuel retailers, according to the associations. However, the groups expressed their concern over differing state approaches to grant processes, which they believed could create disparate, unpredictable consumer EV charging experiences between states.

[Read more: Four Factors C-store Owners Should Consider Before Installing EV Chargers]

Founded in 1960, NATSO is the trade association of America's travel plaza and truck stop industry, and represents the industry on legislative and regulatory matters.

SIGMA (the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America) is the national trade association representing fuel marketers and chain retailers in the United States and Canada. 

Alexandria-based NACS is a global trade association dedicated to advancing convenience and fuel retailing. NACS advances the role of convenience stores as positive economic, social and philanthropic contributors to the communities they serve, and is a trusted adviser to retailer and supplier members from more than 50 countries.

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