Trade Groups Want More Incentives for Clean Energy

NACS among those that see cost of EV chargers as obstacle to Biden administration’s goals
EV chargers in California
Photography: ShutterStock

While the Biden Administration aims to take giant steps toward clean energy, three industry trade associations representing convenience stores and fueling centers said Friday more incentives for private investment are needed for Biden’s goals to be realized.

The Biden Administration’s support of a brighter, cleaner energy future is detailed in the Inflation Reduction Act he signed into law in 2022 and spoke of during the State of the Union address Feb. 7.

But industry trade associations foresee obstacles to obtaining the private investment required for electric charging stations and greater adoption of advanced biofuels. The associations were preparing comments Friday on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard Rule for 2023, 2024 and 2025, announced Dec. 1, 2022, suggesting the volume targets and percentage standards for biofuels weren’t ambitious enough.

The trade association executives also said EPA was focused too heavily on automakers instead of incentives for other parties interested in furthering penetration of electronic-vehicle chargers and use of biofuels.  

“EPA’s proposal should be revised to incentivize investment in charging infrastructure and work to lower the cost of electricity sold to EV customers. That would result in more infrastructure, as well as lower costs and greater convenience for EV drivers,” NACS General Counsel Doug Kantor said.

NACS and two other groups—NATSO, representing America’s truckstops and travel centers, and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA), representing fuel marketers and chain retailers—have criticized the EPA for not being more aggressive in supporting incentives to lower transportation’s carbon footprint, including Biden’s goal of 500,000 EV chargers installed in the United States.

The EPA has set a modest biofuels mandate of 100 million gallons above 2022 levels in 2023 through 2025, said David Fialkov, executive vice president of government affairs for NATSO and SIGMA.

“We think the EPA could be more ambitious with its advanced biofuel mandates,” Fialkov said. “The capacity is there, the feedstock is there, and fuel retailers and trucking companies are eager to invest in renewable diesel and biodiesel. EPA can do more to lower transportation’s carbon footprint now.”

What the Inflation Reduction Act Does

President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law August 16, building off of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) of 2021, a law that established a national goal of zero emissions by 2050.

Both acts include incentives and grants to encourage the United States to adopt cleaner transportation energies to reduce climate impact. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided $7.5 billion for development of a network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers. One element of the BIL, the American Battery Materials Initiative launched in October, aims to secure a sustainable stream of minerals to be used for electric vehicles and hybrids.

While researchers at S&P Global Mobility forecasted 18 million EVs could be on the road in 2030 in the U.S., to achieve this, 1.8 million charging stations would be needed, CSP Daily News reported Nov. 14.

The Inflation Reduction Act aims to accelerate the goals by combining incentives for clean-vehicle purchases with programs for manufacturers to embrace clean energy. While relying on corporate buy-in, the Inflation Reduction Act institutes a minimum corporate tax of 15% to ensure large, profitable corporations pay taxes. It also imposes a 1% surcharge on corporate stock buybacks.

The act also provides a list of incentives, such as tax credits and grants, to encourage adoption of cleaner energies. Specifically, it provides:

  • $500 million in grant funds for convenience stores, fueling stations and fleet facilities that offer higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel and shares costs related to expanding biofuel-related infrastructure through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Higher Blend Infrastructure Incentive Program in effect through 2031.
  • An Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit supporting fueling stations with alternative liquid fuels in low-income and rural areas and electric charging stations.
  • Incentives for domestic production of clean energies, including a new Clean Fuel Production Credit, and extends existing tax incentives for alternative fuels, such as biodiesel and renewable diesel, through the end of 2024.
  • A Clean Vehicle Credit of up to $7,500 for consumers purchasing fuel-cell electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicles meeting certain standards.
  • A Previously Owned Clean Vehicles Credit of the lesser of $4,000 or 30% of the sales price to encourage used vehicle buyers to go electric.
  • A Commercial Clean Vehicles Credit to defray up to 30% of the cost of purchasing electric vehicles to replace diesel- or gas-powered commercial cars, pick-up trucks and long-haul trucks. Commercial vehicle owners who purchase a cleaner, but not fully electric, vehicle to replace an existing non-electric vehicle are eligible for a 15% tax credit.
  • A Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program, providing $3 billion for loans to manufacture clean vehicles and components.
  • $2 billion for Domestic Manufacturing Conversion Grants to fund retooled production lines for cleaner vehicles.
  • A new Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit to support U.S. domestic production and sale of batteries and other components for clean energy projects.
  • Clean energy tax credits for wind, solar, nuclear, clean hydrogen and clean fuels.

Further, the Environmental Protection Agency’s $1 billion Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicle Program aims to help governments and other entities offset the cost of replacing heavy-duty Class 6 and 7 commercial vehicles with zero-emission vehicles, including training the necessary workforce.

The act also lowers prescription drug costs and health care costs to improve Americans’ lives, the agency said.

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