Generic gasoline station and convenience store at dusk.

When we discuss the accessibility of EV charging infrastructure, the issue of rural areas is often raised. Are there enough charging hubs to serve EV drivers making a long-haul trip, or those who don’t live within metropolitan city limits?

Earlier this month, a hearing of the House Committee on Agriculture revealed a great deal of lingering apprehension in regards to the readiness of rural communities to embrace EVs. However, gas stations and convenience stores were presented as a possible solution.

“The companies that currently provide transportation energy to motorists are well positioned to play an important role in decarbonizing the transportation sector through the sale of cleaner liquid fuels and alternative technologies, such as electricity,” said Trevor Walter, the vice president of petroleum supply management for Sheetz, testifying before Congress earlier this month. “We want to partner with Congress to help achieve environmental goals in a market-oriented and consumer-friendly manner.”

Notably, fuel retailers have 150,000 locations across the U.S. and, according to the testimony, 93 per cent of Americans live within 10 minutes of a fuel-retailing location. More notably, in rural areas, convenience stores operate more as a central hub for food, groceries, and supplies. If outfitted to provide EV charging stations, gas stations and convenience stores could be an incredibly effective remedy to range anxiety.

This could also double as a solution for EV drivers living in the city who rent apartments that don’t have EV charging available.

Further, convenience store operators are asking that “federal money be awarded to private-sector operators who are putting their own capital at risk”, as well as the availability of consideration of wholesale rates and reform of demand charges.

While this discussion is currently happening in the American market, this presents an idea that could help to further establish Canada’s EV charging infrastructure across both cities and rural areas, if explored.

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