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NATSO, SIGMA Member Love's Travel Stops Urges Congress to Support Private Investment in Alternative Fuels


WASHINGTONApril 30, 2024 /7Newswire — The right policy framework and incentive structure will advance the market for alternative fuels, including electricity, while lowering carbon emissions for transportation energy, a representative of the truck stop, travel plaza and fuel retailing industry testified today before the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

Kim Okafor, General Manager of Zero Emission Solutions for Love’s Travel Stops and Trillium Energy, testified that a consumer-oriented approach is the best way to encourage the market to gravitate to lower carbon fuel options while also enhancing fueling options for consumers.

“The refueling experience for alternative fuels should be as similar as possible to today’s refueling experience and offer the services and amenities that consumers have come to expect alongside such a network, including 24-hour access, foodservice, security, restrooms, and lighting,” Okafor testified. “Fuel retailers are best positioned to provide alternative sources of transportation energy because we have a keen understanding of on-the-go refueling preferences based on decades of studying them. This fact is essential when it comes to adoption of EVs or other alternative fuel vehicles.”

“For any solution to work, it must promote competitive market dynamics and work with consumers’ existing behavior and the business infrastructure we have,” Okafor said. “If policy does that and ensures a functioning private market, then private dollars will make sure infrastructure is there to meet consumers’ needs. If that is not done, it is likely that any public dollars spent will be stranded and wasted in ways that do not serve an appreciable number of consumers and cost far more than any benefit they produce.”

Okafor testified on behalf of NATSO, representing truck stops and travel plazas, and SIGMA: America’s Leading Fuel Marketers, at the House Subcommittee hearing examining fleet electrification policies. NATSO and SIGMA, which represent approximately 80 percent of fuel sold at retail, support policies that incentivize fuel retailers to invest in alternative fuels.

Fuel retailers are at the forefront of investments in new refueling technologies and their required infrastructure. The industry is actively participating in the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) grant program in almost every state, and more than half of all EV charging stations under the NEVI grant program are set to be constructed at truck stops, travel centers, and other fuel retailers. Incentivizing fuel retailers and their nationwide network to offer more alternative fuels while providing consumers with the ongoing, positive refueling experience they expect will facilitate a faster, more widespread transition to electric vehicle charging.

Changes to the transportation energy market must work for the American consumer to be viable, Okafor testified. Electric vehicle drivers expect a seamless and predictable experience like their current refueling experience, which includes safe, accessible amenities and affordable, competitive prices.

Okafor also testified that hydrogen represents a more compelling emissions reduction technology than electricity for heavy-duty trucking. Hydrogen can leverage the existing refueling infrastructure and energy supply chain while providing the same refueling experience as liquid fuels.

Okafor cautioned that market challenges continue to undermine the private sector’s ability to profitably invest in electric vehicle charging stations. Specifically, Okafor underscored the need for competitive, transparent electricity pricing to ensure that every business pays the same electricity rate to supply their EV charging stations. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) also must harmonize state application standards under the NEVI grant program to ensure that consumers’ charging experiences are consistent from state to state.


NATSO is the trade association of America’s travel plaza and truck stop industry. Founded in 1960, NATSO represents the industry on legislative and regulatory matters; serves as the official source of information on the diverse travel plaza and truck stop industry; provides education to its members; conducts an annual convention and trade show; and supports efforts to generally improve the business climate in which its members operate. Contact: Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman, Vice President, Public Affairs. 202-365-9459

SIGMA is the national trade association representing the most successful, progressive, and innovative fuel marketers and chain retailers in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1958 as the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA), SIGMA has become a fixture in the motor fuel marketing industry. Representing a diverse membership of approximately 250 independent chain retailers and marketers of motor fuel, the association serves to further the interests of both the branded and unbranded segment of the industry while providing information and services to members. For more information visit SIGMA.org.