Gas Stations Are Here to Stay

Electric charging stations will begin to proliferate alongside traditional pumps.

April 28, 2021

Electric Vehicle Charging Station

NEW YORK—BloombergNEF forecasts four million electric vehicles will represent a quarter of all vehicles sold annually in the United States by 2030, meaning plenty of old and new gasoline-powered trucks and cars will still be on the road, Auto Blog reports, but that doesn’t mean traditional pumps are going away any time soon.

To accommodate an influx of new EVs, a buildout of EV charging infrastructure is underway, with a bigger push likely to happen in the near future. But what does that mean for gas stations? Some are concerned that EV owners will simply plug in at home—and have no need to stop by their local convenience store.

Some convenience retailers are adding EV chargers to their traditional gas pumps to accommodate both types of vehicles. But with battery technology constantly changing, it might be difficult to keep up with newer—and faster—chargers. “I think a lot of stations right now are adapting very slowly, because I don't think the numbers are quite there yet,” said Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy. “There's a little bit of an infrastructure [problem], and there's a big cost.”

Many gas stations already have been moving more toward convenience and meeting the needs of the customer beyond filling up a fuel tank—or charging a battery. “We all still call them gas stations, but almost all of them have some sort of mini-mart store where we can go conveniently,” said DeHaan. “A lot of gas stations now have fresh offerings—fresh produce, milk, eggs—they're becoming more of a kind of grocery store than they are a gas station, and I would expect that evolution to continue… as this EV transformation is happening.”

Potential roadblocks for EV implementation have surfaced, however. In response to a wave of executive orders signed by President Biden back in January to support EV success, NACS, along with other associations, has asked to work with the current administration to offer help and support on the plans to implement a new EV infrastructure through out the United States. The administration is also urging automakers to ramp up EV production.

To see how the United States convenience store industry continues to take shape as it emerges from the pandemic, read “Weak Signals No More” in NACS Magazine.

The Fuels Institute has just publishedEV Market Regulatory Report” to guide retailers looking to offer EV charging help in the decision-making and strategic planning process by exploring regulations that could affect installation of electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE). The report also helps policymakers identify and implement appropriate regulatory provisions. Download the EV Market Regulatory Report.

Watch this YouTube video by the Fuels Institute and NACS for more information on EV infrastructure.