TravelCenters of America Commits to Sustainability and Alternative Energy

New business unit and energy expert lead initiative
convenience store sustainability
Photograph courtesy of TravelCenters of America

WESTLAKE, Ohio — TravelCenters of America, operator and franchisor of the TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express travel center network, has formed eTA, a new business unit. eTA will seek to deliver sustainable and alternative energy to the marketplace and focus on partnering with the public sector, private companies and customers to facilitate industry transformation.

eTA builds on TA’s plans to monetize a broad range of potential offerings in alternative energy, extending TA’s commitment to providing non-fuel offerings across its c-store, restaurant and truck service ecosystem. With the launch of eTA, TA aims to be on the forefront of emerging trends, including electrification and decarbonization and the proliferation of alternative energy, it said.

“As everyday travelers embrace the benefits of energy alternatives and the trucking industry continues its transition toward cleaner and more efficient fuels, TA is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this shift and the significant opportunities it creates,” said Jon Pertchik, CEO of TA. “Now is the optimal time to sharpen our focus on sustainability, particularly in light of the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan. TA’s nationwide footprint, range of truck service options and breadth of driver amenities are perfectly situated to minimize consumers’ ‘range anxiety’ concerns and make drivers across the nation more comfortable purchasing vehicles powered by electricity and other alternative fuels."

He said "this is a pivotal moment in our company’s 50-year history, and we believe that the actions we are taking today will support the next 50 years of profitable growth at TA.”

TA also announced that it has appointed alternative energy expert, John Thomas, as senior vice president of sustainability and alternative energy. In this newly created position, Thomas will lead the transformative efforts of eTA, leveraging his expertise and industry knowledge to advance the company’s strategy relating to alternative fuel opportunities.

“I am excited to join TA at this critical inflection point for the industry. TA’s sites are strategically located where highway travelers are most likely to rest and refuel, and TA has the scale and infrastructure proximity to incorporate lower carbon fuel and alternative energy resources into its broad range of fuel offerings. These assets, combined with the company’s cutting-edge operating platform and digital systems, ideally position TA to capitalize on policy and market trends to offer low-priced, clean transportation energy and serve as the partner of choice for tomorrow’s traveler,” said Thomas.

TA has already established partnerships and launched projects in the alternative energy space, providing a foundation for eTA. Recent steps include:

  • Securing a $4 million grant with the California Energy Commission to participate in an industry test project for medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (MDHD) electrification. TA and its key partners will design, develop and deploy an integrated distributed energy resource to power energy storage and electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions.
  • Offering hydrogen fueling in California in collaboration with Nikola Corp. for heavy-duty trucks at two existing sites, with consideration to possibly develop a nationwide network of hydrogen fueling stations.
  • Expanding diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) availability. TA has made a capital investment into diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) availability and plans to add DEF to fueling lanes at an additional 40 sites (173 fueling lanes). The investment is expected to enable TA to make DEF available at every diesel fueling lane across its entire network by early 2022.
  • Expanding the company’s investment in biodiesel blending, with plans to install additional biodiesel blending infrastructure across the network and expand renewable diesel offerings in California and Oregon.
  • Rolling out plans to install FreeWire EV charging stations for motorists in California in second-quarter 2021.

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