Taylor of Last Minit Mart thinks gas-powered vehicles will be around for 20 or 30 more years, but the government, pushing strongly to eliminate them for more electric vehicle (EV) use, will “make it painful for you to be in that market”—with that pain coming via high prices.

Fifty-six percent of survey respondents said they have installed EV chargers at some stores, while 44% have not installed any.

Taylor said his stores looked into adding EV-charging stations, but one store was just outside the requirement of being within 1 mile of an exit to quality for government incentives.

Ellis of Horizon Resources, with stores in Montana and North Dakota, said, “I think (gasoline) fuel’s not going anywhere, ever. The demand will sustain, especially for this area. Electric vehicles in the winter are never going to bode well here.”

What he does see changing, however, is the introduction of more biofuels, “whether it’s corn or soybeans, probably integrating more of that to reduce the refined side of oil, to make it more eco-friendly.”

And in the Midwest, longer-distance traffic patterns aren’t going to change, said Anderson of Midwest Petroleum. She doesn’t think there will be a dramatic reduction in liquid-fuel consumption but believes EV charging demand will continue to increase on the coasts.

Pir of Vintners, with locations in Northern California—one that has EV charging—agrees and questions where c-stores will recoup money lost if fuel sales decline greatly in the next decade.

“We’re always working on long-term plans to convert that fuel sale loss to inside store sales or a different business we have, whether it’s a new type of car wash or offering in the store,” he said.

Also looking to the future, Taylor questions a Biden administration plan to have EV charging stations no more than 50 miles apart on major highways nationwide. “That’s great in populated areas,” he said, adding that in some western states there aren’t towns for hundreds of miles.

“Who is going to operate these charging stations? And is it a third party or is our government getting involved in business?” he asks.