NATSO, representing truckstops and travel plazas, issued the following statement in response to today’s comments from Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee regarding the Biden Administration’s plans for leveraging $15 billion to build a network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.

“We are encouraged by Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s statements today underscoring the need to leverage private dollars to invest in EV charging stations and eliminate range anxiety,” said Lisa Mullings, NATSO’s President and CEO. “While a number of hurdles remain, Secretary Buttigieg has sent a very favorable policy signal to the travel center industry that they will be an essential asset to the Biden Administration’s effort to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuel.

“Thousands of travel centers across the country, accessible from major highways, already offer food, fuel, and other amenities to interstate travelers, and they are prepared to invest in EV charging and other alternative fuels,” Mullings continued. “This can only happen, however, if the government does not unfairly compete with the private sector. It is reassuring to see that Secretary Buttigieg recognizes this dynamic.”

With thousands of established fueling locations spanning the nation, off-highway fuel retailers can replicate today’s fueling experience for drivers of electric vehicles while ensuring that drivers of electric-powered cars will not suffer from range anxiety.

“Congress has a real opportunity to turn President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg’s vision into reality, so long as federal investments in EV charging stations are designed to make private sector investments in EV charging stations as attractive as possible,” said David Fialkov, NATSO’s Vice President of Government Relations. “We have the real estate and the amenities. We know what drivers want. Our industry is eager to work with Secretary Buttigieg, as well as Congress, state and local governments and the utility sector, to make this work.”

Since passage of the FAST Act, NASTO and its member locations have played a vital role in establishing alternative fuel corridors. It continues to be the case that furthering alternative fueling facilities, such as electric vehicle charging stations, is best realized if the travel plaza and truckstop industry’s business environment is recognized as an asset.

NATSO continues to advance the number of electric vehicle charging stations across the United States through the National Highway Charging Collaborative formed in 2019 in conjunction with electric vehicle charging vendor ChargePoint.

The National Highway Collaborative is increasing access to EV charging along highways and in rural America by filling alternative fuel infrastructure gaps along the National Highway System, including along the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) designated alternative fuel corridors.