WASHINGTON—Last week, NACS learned that a bipartisan infrastructure bill would create a loophole in the half-century-old law preventing commercial activity at interstate rest areas by allowing electric vehicle chargers. However, after an aggressive last-minute grassroots and lobbying campaign, the language was removed by the bipartisan group of senators negotiating the bill.
The EV charging provision had made its way into a draft of the nearly 3,000-page, $1 trillion infrastructure bill that was leaked late Thursday night. NACS strongly opposed this language as it would create monopoly businesses at rest stops and depress private sector investment in EV chargers. It would also undermine business, local communities and tax revenues, and it will mean fewer new EV chargers and fewer competitive choices for consumers because of the message it will send to private businesses.
Though the language is not in the bill which is heading to the Senate floor for a vote this week, NACS is continuing to encourage its members to reach out to their senators and ask that they support the bipartisan bill and oppose any amendments that would allow EV charging at rest areas.
The convenience store industry has invested heavily in refueling stops for consumers at interstate exits. Current law ensures those investments remain viable by preventing commercial activities at interstate rest stops. If the rest area language had remained in the infrastructure bill, customers would be less likely to stop at convenience stores at exits if they could buy what they need at the rest area and recharge their vehicle.
“Our concern is that customers could charge at rest stops and bypass convenience stores located at interstate exits, including stores with EV chargers,” said Paige Anderson, NACS director of government relations. “We’re asking our members to contact their senators and make sure this language is not included in the infrastructure bill as it continues to move through the legislative process.”