U.S. House Hearing On The Business Case For Climate Solutions

On Wednesday, the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing, “The Business Case for Climate Solutions.” With eight witnesses the hearing was long.

Shameek Konar, Chief Executive Officer Pilot Flying J, testified on behalf of the National Association of Truckstop Operators (NATSO) who said, “Federal incentive policies should harness the core competencies of the utility and retail fuel sectors. Neither sector can create a sustainable, nationwide EV charging network without the other, especially in an expeditious, efficient and economical way. The utility sector is best suited to perform the requisite generation development and power grid restructuring work. Fuel retailers are best positioned to own and operate EV charging stations (especially along Interstate highway locations) and provide transportation energy – including electricity – to consumers.”

Mr. Konar also cautioned against adding EV charging stations at rest areas and allowing utilities to use ratepayers to expand EV infrastructure.

“You’ve gone from two minutes to fuel a car to 40 minutes or 30 minutes to charge your car. If you can keep people more engaged and give them more things they can do—like at our travel centers or at retail stops, where you can eat, you can shower, you can do other things,” he said. “It will only help the adoption of EVs. We need to keep that in mind. If you are stuck for 40 minutes in some place and it does not have a lot of amenities, it will be challenging.”

Mr. Konar also encouraged Congress to create strong government programs and tax incentives for retailers, similar to the RFS and the biodiesel tax credit, for electrification to succeed.

Other witnesses included Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FedEx Corporation, who testified that FedEx is designating more than $2 billion of initial investment in three key areas: vehicle electrification, sustainable energy, and carbon sequestration.

Mr. Smith pushed for lifting the ban on 33-foot truck trailers could reduce annual motor fuel use by 225 million gallons per year and reduce carbon emissions by 3 million tons per year.

Charles Hernick, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions who advised members that the federal “…policy playbook should first and foremost harness the power of free markets—by encouraging transparency and accountability— and empower companies to achieve their self-set goals, not pursue heavy-handed, top-down mandates that drive up costs or reduce options.”

            For written testimony and a video of the hearing, visit the The Business Case for Climate Solutions Hearing webpage.

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