A North Carolina Bill Would Ban Free Public EV Chargers Unless They Offer Free Gas Too

The Republican bill also allocates $50,000 to destroy existing chargers that aren't in compliance.

Republican North Carolina State Representative Ben Moss has introduced a new bill, H.B. 1049, that would ban free public electric vehicle chargers, unless free gas and diesel pump alternatives are also made available in the same space. If a town, county, or even the state’s department of transportation has any free public EV chargers on land owned or leased by the state, and doesn’t also add free gas and diesel pumps, the charger will be removed. The bill allocates $50,000 for the 2022-2023 fiscal year for the removal of any EV charging stations not in compliance.

According to Moss, the purpose of the bill is to make it fair and equitable for internal combustion vehicle-owners, who currently have to watch as EV owners get the advantage of charging their vehicles for free. Hence the name “Equitable Free Vehicle Fuel Stations.” However, fueling ICE cars and charging EVs are two very different things. It only costs a few bucks to charge up an EV, at average American electricity costs, while it can cost hundreds of dollars to fill many of America’s larger ICE vehicles.

The bill goes one step further, too. It even affects private businesses. Let’s say you’re a restaurant owner in North Carolina and you have a free charger in your parking lot, so an EV-owning customer can juice up while they eat. You’re going to need to show each and every customer, even if they didn’t use the charger, what percentage of their bill went to paying for the charging station. That would be like showing every customer the percentage of their bill that went to a plumber for fixing the toilet, even if that customer didn’t use the toilet. A free EV charging station at a business is an expense the owner pays to provide a service to their customers, just like any other service. This bill would require business owners to itemize that expense for their customers or lose the charging station.

I guess local governments and small businesses can just begin charging customers for charging their cars but that sort of defeats the purpose of offering the service. Aside from pure political theater, I struggle to see a real reason to introduce such a bill and I can understand why EV customers in North Carolina would be frustrated if this bill becomes law.

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