Welcome to NATSO's Grassroots Alerts section. From time to time, a legislative or regulatory issue will arise that requires direct input from you, our members, to your elected officials. Those issues will be listed here with all the information you will need to tell your legislator or other official how you feel about them. Be a part of NATSO's grassroots network!
Issues Briefing Slides
May 14, 2019 by LeeAnn Goheen
What Am I Doing Here?
  • Thank you! You are ambassadors representing the industry on Capitol Hill.
  • NATSO members will have the opportunity to educate Members of Congress and their staffers about how the policies under consideration on Capitol Hill impact your business and the industry as a whole.
  • Opportunity for NATSO members to make “real-life” connections between those policies and your businesses.
  • Opportunity to serve as a resource for these offices.

What Should I Expect?
  • NATSO has scheduled meetings with the offices represented by a Member of Congress representing a district in which you either live or operate.
  • Congressional meetings typically last 15-20 minutes.
  • The location of the meeting and the person with whom you meet can vary dramatically meeting to meeting.
  • If your meeting schedule shows that you will be with multiple NATSO members, discuss the meeting flow beforehand.

What Should I Expect?
  • Know your audience! Are you meeting with a Member or staff? Are they knowledgeable or inexperienced? Are they a Democrat or a Republican?
  • Once in your meeting, introduce yourself and all participants.
  • Tell them about your particular business and your role within the business.
  • Make the connection to the district or state- if you know employment statistics, taxes paid, etc. be sure to bring home that connection.
  • If you are meeting with staff, ask about their portfolio.
  • Explain NATSO, which represents the entire travel center industry and leads a group of stakeholders representing off-highway communities (including restaurants/hotels/convenience stores, etc.).
  • Discuss the issues NATSO has prioritized this year.
  • Ask for their support. Be direct but not confrontational.
  • Offer to be a resource and a host for a Member visit.
  • After the meeting, please submit meeting reports.
  • Send a thank you email to the staff in the meeting.

BIG PICTURE POLICY
  • Congress should be thinking about the near-term, AND the long-term.
  • NEAR-TERM:
  • Energy: Biodiesel Tax Credit
  • Infrastructure: Raise the fuel tax
  • LONG-TERM:
  • Energy: Smart EV policies (PUCs)
  • Infrastructure: VMT / Something else?

ENERGY & ALTERNATIVE FUELS POLICY
  • WE LIKE INEXPENSIVE FUEL. (They don’t know that….)
  • NATSO supports policies that incentivize fuel retailers to invest in alternative fuels and reward businesses that make these investments.
  • NEAR TERM: Biodiesel Tax Credit
  • LONG TERM: EV Policies / PUCs


WHY BIODIESEL IS GOOD

  • ENVIRONMENTAL – Each gallon of biodiesel that displaces a gallon of diesel represents at least a 50% reduction in GHG emissions
  • ECONOMIC – Biodiesel results in lower diesel prices, which lowers the price of all goods that move by truck.
  • FUTURE ENERGY POLICIES – Fuel marketers should be greatest allies for bringing new fuels to market. Should reward, not punish, those who act the right way.

ENERGY & ALTERNATIVE FUELS POLICY
  • Politics of the biodiesel tax credit are tricky, but we have supporters on both sides of the aisle.
  • Left-leaning lawmakers are focused on climate change. But, they should not ignore short-term policies like the biodiesel tax credit that reduces carbon.
  • Right-leaning lawmakers want to support businesses’ investment-backed expectations. And, they generally understand the economic benefits of lower fuel prices.
ENERGY & ALTERNATIVE FUELS POLICY
  • Congress should extend the biodiesel tax credit for 2018 and 2019 as soon as possible.
  • Businesses have made decisions with the assumption the credit would return.
  • If the credit does not return, retailers will be less likely to respond to congressional incentives in the future.
  • Once 2018 and 2019 are resolved, NATSO supports a multi-year phasedown of the biodiesel tax credit.
ENERGY & ALTERNATIVE FUELS POLICY
  • Rebuttals to Arguments:
  • We aren’t doing enough about climate change. Why would we incentivize diesel when we should be thinking about zero-emissions vehicles?
  • 50% GHG Reduction.
  • Near-Term vs. Long-Term. (Perfect shouldn’t be enemy of the good).
  • Rewarding retailers that invested in biofuels will pave the way for forward-thinking retailers to invest in other alternative fuels.
ENERGY & ALTERNATIVE FUELS POLICY
  • Rebuttals to Arguments:
  • How long does this industry expect to live off of the government?
  • Not an unreasonable question.
  • Not forever but it’s not ready yet. (We’d support a phasedown once 2018 and 2019 19 are dealt with).
  • Farmers being hurt right now.
  • Good for the environment (50% GHG Reduction).
  • Good for the economy (lower fuel prices).
ENERGY & ALTERNATIVE FUELS POLICY
  • Rebuttals to Arguments:
  • Why should you get a tax credit for activity that’s already taken place?
  • Congress has retroactively extended it many times before.
  • Industry reasonably expects it and floats the credit’s value to consumers.
  • Rewards forward-thinking retailers.
  • Good for the environment.
  • Good for the economy.
ENERGY & ALTERNATIVE FUELS POLICY
  • Rebuttals to Arguments
  • How are we going to pay for it?
  • You tell me! That’s your problem not mine.
  • Good for the environment.
  • Good for the economy.

ENERGY & ALTERNATIVE FUELS POLICY
  • Utility companies have for several years aggressively sought to enter the EV charging business.
  • In some states, utilities have successfully convinced PUCs to allow them to utilize ratepayer dollars to underwrite their investment in EV charging.
  • Once approved by the state PUCs, these investments provide a guaranteed rate of return for utility shareholders and creates a monopoly on electric refueling.
  • This is bad policy.
  • LEARN FROM THE BIODIESEL TAX CREDIT’S SUCCESS!
ENERGY & ALTERNATIVE FUELS POLICY

Why Rate-Basing EV Charging Infrastructure Investments is Bad Policy

  • Everyone pays, but only a few benefit.
  • Redistributes wealth from poor to affluent.
  • Redistributes wealth from your business to your competitors.
  • Utility companies are using poor households and their competition (you!) to pay for their investments.

ENERGY & ALTERNATIVE FUELS POLICY
  • If utilities are allowed to invest in EV charging infrastructure without any investment cost, we cannot compete.
  • The result is fewer EV charging stations.
  • If Congress wants to expand the EV charging infrastructure, they should support private businesses (INCLUDING UTILITIES!) entering the EV charging infrastructure space.
  • Regulated vs. Unregulated Utilities
ENERGY & ALTERNATIVE FUELS POLICY
  • Rebuttals to Arguments:
  • If utilities don’t invest in EV infrastructure, what incentive is there for private industry to invest?
  • Demand Drives Supply. We will respond to our customers’ preferences.
  • Use Biodiesel Tax Credit as a Learning Tool.
  • If utilities could rate-base biodiesel blending and dispensing equipment investments, how many of you would be blending biodiesel today?
ENERGY & ALTERNATIVE FUELS POLICY
  • Rebuttals to Arguments:
  • This isn’t in Congress’s jurisdiction, it’s a state issue.
  • Congress can always influence state behavior (e.g., drinking age).
  • Grant money shouldn’t go to utilities that are rate-basing EV investments.

ENERGY & ALTERNATIVE FUELS POLICY
  • Rebuttals to Arguments:
  • What if we simply allow EV charging infrastructure on the Interstates?
  • No better way to discourage retailers from investing in EV infrastructure….Last thing you should want to do.
  • LEARN FROM THE BIODIESEL TAX CREDIT.
  • There’s no biodiesel sold at rest areas, yet that’s grown tremendously over past decade.
TRANSPORTATION POLICY
  • NATSO supports more infrastructure investment….But must be smart.
  • Must fix the Highway Trust Fund in the short-term.
  • Short-Term vs. Long-Term.
  • NATSO opposes tolling and rest area commercialization.
TRANSPORTATION POLICY
  • The country is currently under-investing in infrastructure.
  • Maintain what we have and meet growth opportunities.
  • It’s been more than 20 years.
  • Inflation/CAFE Standards/Construction Costs
  • Updating/modernizing fuel taxes = best way.
  • Churchill and Democracy …. Open to new ideas as they come (VMT?)
  • Voters Don’t Punish For It.
TRANSPORTATION POLICY
  • Reasons why raising fuel tax works:
  • Failing roads makes it harder to attract employees, raises freight costs (equipment maintenance, congestion, etc.).
  • Mitigates patchwork/disequilibrium of state taxes.
  • Ubiquitous.
  • Efficient/Easy to Administer (99% à Highways).
  • Must go toward infrastructure.
  • Improves economy at large.
  • On average, passenger vehicle drivers lose nearly $1,600/year. Increasing the gas tax by 20 cents will cost an average of $100/year per driver.

Rest Area Commercialization
  • Banned since 1956 (minor exceptions).
  • Government competes with private business.
  • Monopoly by fiat; not innovative.
  • [TALK ABOUT YOUR COMPETITORS NEARBY.]
  • Undercuts investment-backed expectations.
  • Anti-free market; Gov’t Picks Winner (NOT A LOCAL).
  • Vending Machines Operated by Blind.
  • Truck Parking/Alternative Fuel (Know Audience!).
  • Redirects economic activity à No New Activity (studies).
  • Protects off-highway communities (effective state tax on localities).
Tolling
  • Current law prohibits tolling existing Interstates (minor exceptions)
  • Distinguished from tolling new capacity
  • Tolls are inefficient
  • ~25% administrative costs
  • Traffic Diversion
  • Businesses / First responders / Maintenance Costs
  • Rural America
  • Money can go to other projects (Transit / bike paths)
  • Double-Taxation
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