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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — NATSO is hoping to make alternative fuels more accessible along national highways.
The national association representing travel plazas and truckstops is urging the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) 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," she added. "State governments should not provide transportation fuel paid for with tax dollars."
According to NATSO, Section 1413 of the FAST Act (also known as the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act) directed the 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.
The federal department is also tasked 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, the Alexandria-based association added.
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.
The association noted that as vehicles and fuels have developed over the past 100 years, the fuel retailing industry has evolved to meet the needs of its customers. By working with private businesses, the government can further enhance the incentive for private sector investment without pre-empting consumer demand, NATSO added.
"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," Mullings said. "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."