Truckstop Operators Lead Effort to Block Food, Fuel and EV Charging Services at Rest Areas
Alexandria, VA – The National Association of Truckstop Operators (NATSO) is leading an effort to stop an array of services from being offered at Interstate rest areas including electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
NATSO, representing more than 2,000 truckstops and travel plazas, along with a coalition of restaurants, hotels, fuel retailers, convenience stores and blind merchants is urging Congress to reject efforts to commercialize Interstate rest areas.
In 1960, Congress effectively privatized highway services and prohibited states from offering commercial services at rest areas along the Interstate Highway System.
“Offering food or fuel, including electric charging services at rest areas, would allow states to enter into a monopoly in which they unfairly compete with the private businesses already operating near the interstate exit interchanges to meet the needs of the motoring public,” said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. “If state governments preempt consumer demand, they will effectively destroy the incentive for private sector investment.”
In a letter sent to members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the coalition argued “the private sector’s ability to operate in a competitive and robust marketplace ensures its ability to provide jobs, generate critical tax revenues and further enhance investments in alternative fuels.”
Just last month, Mullings signaled NATSO was eager to work the Biden Administration on “an array of transportation issues,” including on its push to begin replacing fossil-fuel powered vehicles with EVs.
Under the leadership of Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) plans to lead an effort to install 500,000 EV charging stations across the nation.
NATSO Vice President of Government Affairs David Fialkov argues the longstanding ban prohibiting state departments of transportation from allowing the selling of food, fuel or other commercial services at Interstate rest areas must also include EV charging services.
“Carving out an exception for EV charging infrastructure would not only discourage existing refueling stations throughout the country from investing in charging infrastructure, but it will signal to prospective EV drivers that they will not be able to access the same amenities and fueling experience to which they are accustomed,” said Fialkov.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow the issue closely.