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NATSO, SIGMA testify on critical role of fuel retailers in bolstering US supply chain



NATSO, representing America’s travel centers, truck stops and transportation energy retailers, and SIGMA: America’s Leading Fuel Marketers, testified before Congress May 10 on the critical role that the nation’s fuel retailers play in facilitating the efficient movement of goods and energy throughout the United States.


Testifying before the subcommittee on highways and transit of the House transportation and infrastructure committee, David Fialkov, executive vice president of government affairs for NATSO and SIGMA, said bolstering the nation’s supply chain requires an efficient fuel-distribution system that ensures plentiful fuel supplies at competitive prices for consumers.


Specifically, the organizations, which represent 80 percent of fuel sold at retail, testified that a regulatory approach that encourages fuel retailers to invest in alternative fuels would diversify the nation’s fuel supply while mitigating the environmental footprint of commercial trucks and passenger vehicles.


Such an approach would enhance fuel-supply options and limit the industry’s exposure to unexpected fuel-market disruptions, such as hurricanes or refinery outages.


“Policymakers have had challenges navigating the balance between encouraging investment in alternative fuels such as electricity or biofuels, without excessively disrupting today’s fuel markets and in so doing harm the broader supply chain,” Fialkov testified. “You can have an efficient fuel-distribution system and still have supply-chain problems, but you simply cannot have a well-functioning supply chain without an efficient fuel-distribution system. That’s the role we play. It is critically important to recognize the efficiencies of the liquid-fuel distribution system and, to every extent possible, replicate those efficiencies as the country transitions to future fuels.”


NATSO and SIGMA underscored the need for market reforms that allow businesses to profitably invest in electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The existing refueling network represents the fastest, most efficient way to build out a nationwide network of EV charging stations, a fact underscored by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rural EV Infrastructure Toolkit touting truck stops and travel plazas as a partnership success story.


EV-charging grant programs, including the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program, should encourage states to reexamine arcane regulations that are incompatible with today’s need for public EV-charging transactions. NATSO and SIGMA also urged Congress to encourage the transportation department to flexibly interpret the recent Buy America regulations.


NATSO and SIGMA also highlighted the market challenges created by preferential treatment for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) over renewable diesel and biodiesel, which power commercial trucks.


Preferential tax treatment for SAF will encourage producers to make SAF rather than the longstanding renewable fuels already used in ground transportation, shortening diesel supply and increasing the cost of all goods moved by truck.


Consumers ultimately will be forced to pay more for fewer environmental benefits as emission reductions are transferred away from trucking to the aviation sector.


The biodiesel blenders tax credit has worked successfully to build a robust biodiesel and renewable diesel industry in the United States, enhancing the supply of transportation energy for commercial trucks while limiting U.S. exposure to global petroleum markets and improving the transportation sector’s emissions footprint.


Fialkov also testified on additional comprehensive policies that would improve the supply chain.


To read the full written testimony, click here.

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