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An Evolving Regulatory Landscape for Commercial Electric Vehicle Fueling



Tina G. Butcher, Michael Nelson


Plug-in electric vehicles (PEV), which include "all-electric" battery EV (BEV) and plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV), comprise a rapidly growing proportion of the U.S. automobile market – nearly 8% of all light-duty vehicles sold in Oct. 2022, a 41.4% rise over October 2021 sales. In response to projected demands for PEV charging, private companies, utilities, and state and local governments have strived to develop policies and infrastructure that promote broad access to electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) used to fuel electric vehicles. However, long-standing regulatory oversight of retail electricity distribution and sales through utilities has presented ambiguities and constraints regarding the sales of electricity for motor vehicle fueling, particularly via public charging stations. As these matters are addressed separately by the responsible authorities in each state, a patchwork of policies and rules has evolved across the U.S. concerning regulation of public EVSE sites and charging-related transactions. These policies, or lack thereof, have influenced permissible EVSE site ownership models, methods of sale and pricing for charging sessions, and requirements for metrological control of EVSE. Nonuniformity in EVSE operations across the U.S. can stimy expansion of interstate charging networks, hinder equity in the charging market, frustrate price comparison, and diminish consumer confidence. Thus, it is advantageous that many states in recent years have begun to adopt some consistent regulatory measures, including changes in most states to utility regulations to allow owners of EVSEs to make a profit from the sale of electrical energy used as a vehicle fuel. However, significant gaps and variation in oversight remain as charging networks expand. Considering these developments, this publication summarizes the current, albeit evolving, EVSE regulatory landscape in the U.S. and explores the increasingly relevant role of legal metrology in PEV charging. The implications of these topics and their relation to other currently evolving issues, including submetering for utility PEV time of use rates and for PEV fuel excise taxes, are also discussed.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 2200-03
Report Number


Electric vehicle charging, electric vehicle supply equipment, commercial charging stations, DC fast-charging, legal metrology, EV incentives, National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, fuel sale regulation, method of sale, electric utilities, weights and measures, submetering, fuel tax, zero-emission vehicles, International Organization of Legal Metrology.


Butcher, T. and Nelson, M. (2023), An Evolving Regulatory Landscape for Commercial Electric Vehicle Fueling, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed May 21, 2024)


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Created August 22, 2023