TA Commits to Alternative Energy

The truck stop chain creates a new business unit to promote and market carbon-fuel alternatives.

April 27, 2021

Travel Centers of America Location

WESTLAKE, Ohio—TravelCenters of America has formed eTA, a new business unit that aims to deliver sustainable and alternative energy to the marketplace. The unit will partner with the public sector, private companies and customers to facilitate industry transformation, the company announced.

In line with TravelCenters’ previously announced plans, eTA will provide a wide range of non-fuel offerings across its convenience-store, restaurant and truck service ecosystem and will help monetize a wide range of potential offerings in alternative energy. The new business unit will position TA in the forefront of important trends, such as electrification and decarbonization, helping the company take a leading role in the proliferation of alternative energy.

“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. Pertchik believes that now is the time to 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.”

In addition to the creation of eTA, TA announced that it has appointed alternative energy expert John D. Thomas as senior vice president, sustainability and alternative energy. He will lead the transformative efforts of eTA.

“I am excited to join TA at this critical inflection point for the industry,” Thomas said. “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.”

Already, TA has launched significant projects to provide a strong foundation for eTA and established partnerships. Recent accomplishments include:

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

In addition, TA unveiled an eTA logo that will appear on EV charging stations.

Other convenience operators have made commitments to sustainability. In March, NACS Daily reported that 7-Eleven stores had released a detailed reported outlining the company’s sustainability and community support efforts in 2020.  And earlier this month, Circle K announced it was now offering 100% sustainably sourced coffee blends at all locations and discounting reusable mugs 40% in honor of Earth Day.  

To learn how c-stores can continue to make a more sustainable future, read “Sustainable-and Safe” in NACS Magazine.