NATSO asks DOT to help establish alternative fuel corridors

By National Association of Truck Stop Operators | August 31, 2016

NATSO, the national association representing travel plazas and truckstops, called on the U.S. Department of Transportation to work with private, exit-based businesses within the confines of the existing law that prohibits the sale of fuel and other commercial services at rest areas as it seeks to identify and establish stretches of the National Highway System as alternative fuel corridors.

“NATSO members’ locations are well positioned to play a vital role in establishing alternative fuel corridors,” said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. “The best way to accomplish the administration’s objectives of increasing alternative fueling infrastructure throughout the country is for the government to work with existing exit-based establishments to install such infrastructure at privately-run businesses, including travel plazas and truckstops. State governments should not provide transportation fuel paid for with tax dollars.”

Section 1413 of the FAST Act directed DOT to identify and establish fueling corridors to support alternative-fueling stations, including electric, hydrogen, propane and natural gas fueling infrastructure at strategic locations along major national highways.  DOT is further charged with identifying the near- and long-term need for, and locations of, electric vehicle, natural gas, and propane refueling infrastructure for both passenger and commercial vehicles.

In comments filed with DOT, NATSO urged the agency to implement Section 1413 of the FAST Act in a manner that strengthened the incentive for private investment for infrastructure for alternate-fueled vehicles.

As vehicles and fuels have developed over the last 100 years, the fuel retailing industry has evolved to meet the needs of its customers. As the next generation of vehicles emerges, fuel retailers are best suited to meet new energy needs, whether it’s conventional gasoline, natural gas, biodiesel or electricity. By working with private businesses, the government can further enhance the incentive for private sector investment without preempting consumer demand.

“Furthering the deployment and use of charging and alternative fueling facilities is best realized if the travel plaza and truckstop industry’s business environment is recognized as an asset,” said Mullings. “Building alternative fuel facilities at truckstops provides the opportunity for an incremental investment at an existing facility.  This is a very efficient way of accomplishing the administration’s goals.”