The c-store industry sits in the middle of the pack among retailers adding EV charging, according to Consumer Reports, and is the only one focused almost exclusively on fast chargers.

Wawa, Sheetz lead c-store chains in EV adoption

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Wawa and Sheetz are leading the way among convenience store chains for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, according to a recent report from Consumer Reports examining 75 major retailers. 

Of the 11 c-store companies Consumer Reports looked at, representing about 30 brands and 31,000 stores, those two banners had EV chargers at between 11% and 30% of their locations. On average, both chains also had between six and 10 fast chargers on each site.

Although Consumer Reports’ sample size represents a fraction of the of the c-store industry, it did include that industry’s largest and most impactful companies, including 7-Eleven, Circle K and EG America. Altogether, 1.4% of c-stores in the sample size offer EV charging.

“Given the overlap in the U.S. between convenience stores and gas stations, the transition to electric vehicles could pose an existential threat to some actors in this segment,” noted Consumer Reports. “At the same time, it presents an opportunity to gain market share for early adopters.”

Among the types of retailers discussed in the report, c-stores ranked near the middle for the percentage of its sites with EV chargers. However, they may be hampered by the faster-paced grab-and-go nature of convenience store shopping trips. C-stores were the only retail category whose chargers were almost exclusively fast chargers, which require more money and time to install but get users on the road faster. 

C-stores aren’t leading the EV charge

Only 1.4% of the stores among convenience retailers studied by Consumer Reports had chargers, lagging grocers and big box stores.

While Wawa and Sheetz stand at the forefront of the industry on EV charging, Consumer Reports noted that others are also making strides. Fellow regional players Maverik, Caseys and Royal Farms have added EV charging to between 1% and 10% of their stores. Royal Farms averages between six and 10 chargers per site, like Sheetz and Wawa, while the others average between two and five. 

The report noted that while these three brands have been building out their charging infrastructure, “they have not yet made specific future-facing commitments to expand charging access.”

On the other side, the report highlighted how the two largest c-store chains in the U.S., 7-Eleven and Circle K, “are attempting more ambitious approaches” by building out their own proprietary charging networks. However, neither of those companies has yet added chargers to more than 1% of its total store count.

  • How long does it take c-store consumers to charge their EVs? One provider has the answer. By Jessica Loder • Feb. 14, 2024
  • Back to Basics: How to implement EV charging stations By Amanda Baltazar • June 14, 2023

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