NACS: EV Infrastructure Should Be a Level Playing Field

The industry’s investment in EV charging has growth opportunities, but only if there is an investment return.

March 10, 2022

EV Charger

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—NACS submitted a letter for the record for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s hearing “Charging Forward: Securing American Manufacturing and Our EV Future.”

NACS, along with NATSO and SIGMA, told the committee that the convenience retailing industry is agnostic as to what types of fuel it sells to satisfy consumer demand and want what is best for the American consumer, as well as America’s industrial and geopolitical position in the world.

“[We want] to have reasonably low and stable energy prices and, as much as possible, for our energy needs to be fulfilled by domestic sources and by technologies that are as environmentally attractive as possible,” the letter states.

NACS says that the investment in electric vehicle (EV) charging gives the industry growth opportunities, but only if the industry is able to have a return on such an investment.

“There are some key structural changes and assurances needed to make that case for private sector investment, including policies that encourage utilities to do the needed work to provide reliable electricity as well as rate structures that allow private sector participants to sell electricity in a competitive and price-transparent manner,” said NACS in the letter.

NACS believes that certain policy and market obstacles need to be removed so that there is a “meaningful, systemic injection of private capital toward fast, reliable EV charging stations at the places consumers want them the most.”

The grant programs introduced through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act should enact policies that incentivize state governments and utilities to partner with the private sector on terms that make economic sense for all, writes NACS.

“Electricity markets will have to provide reliable, transparently-priced wholesale electricity to all EV charging site hosts,” reads the letter. “This should not be controversial. It would make the charging marketplace highly competitive and EV charging investments more attractive to private businesses throughout the country.”

NACS listed the opportunities and challenges that fuel retailers face in EV charging profitability. Opportunities include the conveniently located real estate fuel retailers already have, plus their offer of services and amenities that consumers have come to expect alongside the refueling network, such as foodservice facilities, restrooms and security.

NACS says that challenges c-store retailers face mostly center around an electricity market structure that was not designed for—and is in some ways, incompatible with—the highly competitive and price transparent retail fuel market.

“With the right alignment of policy incentives, the private sector is best equipped to facilitate a faster, more widespread and cost-effective transition to alternatives—including electricity—in the coming years.”

NACS lists the principles to which the policies should adhere, including allowing science to be the foundation for transportation climate policies, establishing performance goals and developing a level-playing field, among other principles.

NACS recently joined the Charge Ahead Partnership, a coalition of businesses, associations and individuals who share the same goal of creating a competitive EV charging market nationwide.

“Through this coalition, our industry will have a voice in creating a level playing field for everyone who wants to get into this emerging industry,” said Paige Anderson, NACS director of government relations. “We are able to advocate for change in the current policies and system with the goal to incentivize the private industry to invest in EV charging equipment and infrastructure.”

The Charge Ahead Partnership is free to join. By joining, members will be kept informed about this issue and will learn how they can help the cause.