The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), NATSO, representing the nation’s truckstops and travel plazas and SIGMA: America’s Leading Fuel Marketers commended the Senate for passing the historic, five-year $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (ILJA), H.R. 3684. NATSO, SIGMA and NACS urge the U.S. House of Representatives to quickly pass the legislation.
The bipartisan measure marks a critical step toward ensuring a long-term plan for the nation’s highway and infrastructure programs while laying the groundwork for the retail fuels industry to invest in the future of transportation energy including electric vehicle charging and other emerging technologies.
“We are grateful that Senators from across the ideological spectrum have come together in support of long-term infrastructure investment,” said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. “We are pleased that the Senate did not include tolling interstate highways or commercializing rest areas, which would have discouraged the private sector from investing in electric vehicle charging. The policies established by the IIJA, while not perfect, will ensure that our industry can compete on a level playing field and encourage private sector investments in alternative transportation energy.”
“We appreciate the difficult work it took to get bipartisan agreement on this bill and are pleased that the policy choices made on transportation energy infrastructure point toward a future in which the private sector can dramatically increase the alternative energy options available to consumers across the nation,” said Richard Guttman, President of SIGMA. “The competitive market dynamics that govern the retail fuel market today can be replicated to accommodate emerging fuels.”
“The Senate’s bipartisan bill begins the process of creating a competitive market for electric vehicle charging infrastructure that will benefit convenience retailers and consumers for years to come,” said Henry Armour, President and CEO of NACS. “We have been pleased to work with senators from both parties to make progress on alternative energy and look forward to continuing those partnerships as these discussions continue.”
NATSO, SIGMA and NACS support efforts to ensure consumers get affordable and reliable alternative fueling choices so that, as the energy mix changes, Americans enjoy all the benefits they have with the fueling market today. For that to happen, there must be a competitive private market for electricity and other future fuels. The Senate bill aids the development of a competitive market by:
- Taking a technology neutral approach to alternative fuels so that there is competition among those technologies on price and reliability;
- Prioritizing private investment so that consumers pay competitive prices rather than socializing costs among all consumers – even those who don’t have or can’t afford electric and alternative fuel vehicles;
- Requiring state public utility commissions to use their positions to find ways to attract private investment to electric vehicle charging, which should lead them to reduce anticompetitive and punitive demand charges.
The Senate has signaled to travel centers and fuel retailers that they are an essential asset to the Biden Administration’s effort to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuel. The measure allows for the benefits of innovation and technology development, which ultimately will allow consumers access to options all competing for their business on price, speed, and quality of service.
The three organizations appreciate that the IIJA did not incorporate provisions that would allow states to unfairly compete with the private sector by installing electric vehicle charging stations at rest areas and that locations for alternative fueling must take into account the availability of amenities such as food and restrooms.
NATSO, SIGMA and NACS represent a nationwide network of 150,000 refueling locations and sell 90 percent of motor fuels sold at retail.