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Action Center

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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