Gas stations (or filling stations as they were known officially) first opened in the early 1900s. The U.S. Census Bureau says there are almost 120,000 nationwide.
As gasoline-driven cars give way to electric cars, the station owners have to start making bets on how quickly the American driver will move from a fossil fuel-driven car to one that can be plugged in. Some gas station owners have started the conversion, tearing out gas pumps for charging stations.
Green Car Reports says that the process is farther along in some places than in others, which would make sense since the distribution of electric cars is not even across America. As of the last count, Maryland had about 21,000 electric cars registered. The population of the state is dense enough, particularly near Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, that there are plenty of chances to “sell electricity.”
The movement of gas stations toward electric car chargers has two risks. The first is that several surveys show that the adoption of electric cars could slow. An AAA study showed that most Americans don’t think there will be many electric cars on the road in the next 10 years. That may be due partly to the fact that very few car companies sell mass-market electric vehicles.
The other problem for gas station owners is that Tesla figured out years ago that it could not sell its cars without a large charging network. It has over 1,600 Supercharger stations with 14,000 Superchargers. Most are in or around big cities, which is the only intelligent play. So, gas station owners are in direct competition with the largest electric car manufacturer in America. Tesla also sells chargers people can use in their homes. It does not say how many of these there are.
The gas station owner has a final challenge: what to charge per car at a charger. Tesla charges $0.28 per kilowatt-hour, but it has complex programs that can make that less. The station owner has to calculate what it will cost to pay for the charging station and whether Tesla and other electric cars companies eventually will flood the market.