C-Store, Fuel Industry Groups Commend Senate on Passage of Infrastructure Bill

Associations pleased act does not incorporate tolling, rest area EV charging provisions
Photograph: Shutterstock

ALEXANDRIA, Va. NACS, NATSO and SIGMA commended the Senate for passing the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (ILJA), H.R. 3684. The associations 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 (EV) charging and other emerging technologies, they said.

“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 EV 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.”

The groups 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, they said. For that to happen, there must be a competitive private market for electricity and other future fuels, they added. 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 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 associations said. 

The three organizations appreciate that the IIJA did not incorporate provisions that would allow states to unfairly compete with the private sector by installing EV charging stations at rest areas and that locations for alternative fueling must take into account the availability of amenities such as food and restrooms, they said. 

NATSO, SIGMA and NACS represent a nationwide network of 150,000 refueling locations and sell 90% of motor fuels sold at retail. 

Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS, has more than 1,500 retailer and 1,500 supplier members.

NATSO, founded in 1960 as that National Association of Truckstop Operators, is the trade association of America's travel plaza and truckstop industry.

And SIGMA, founded in 1958 as the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, represents approximately 250 independent chain retailers and marketers of branded and unbranded motor fuel.

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