Gas station shuts down pumps, goes all-in on electric-vehicle charging

The owner of a 60-year-old fueling station in Maryland disconnected from the legacy of Big Oil and went all-electric, partnering with the Electric Vehicle Institute and the state energy administration to rip out the gas pumps and install chargers.

Depeswar Doley of RS Automotives in Takoma Park told CNBC that he was tired of the way oil companies structured their gas contracts and was ready for a change, but it was his daughter who gave him the nudge he needed to commit to the new plan. 

EV service area first station converting fully to charging [photo: Maryland Energy Administration]

That little push was all he needed. As for the state of EV sales in America? He recognizes the potential pitfalls of being all-in on electric energy right now, but he sees it as a growing market, and he can supplement his income with other typical service station revenue streams until the market catches up. The facility has an adjacent service area that’s specializing in electric vehicles. 

“You notice there are not too many electric vehicles on the road,” he said. “So it’s not something that I expect to become rich overnight or something like that, but it’s a good cause [and] good for the environment.”

Doley’s fueling station originally opened in 1958, and the conversion from oil-based fuels to all-electric services is the first of its kind in the nation. The opening was celebrated Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

First U.S. gas station converting fully to EV charging [photo: Maryland Energy Administration

First U.S. gas station converting fully to EV charging [photo: Maryland Energy Administration

Maryland has nearly 21,000 registered electric vehicles, and the Washington, D.C., metro area also has electric taxi cabs in service, which could potentially be customers for stations like Doley’s.

Maryland is one of many states which subsidizes the construction of alternative-fuel stations, including electric chargers. 

Even the stronger EV markets have faced backlash from advocacy groups who are opposed to tax dollars being spent to subsidize non-fossil-fuel infrastructure, but that is expected to subside as electric vehicles in particular gain a larger foothold in the U.S. market.