Electric cars are growing quickly in popularity. This is leading many people to question what will happen to the millions of gas stations when electric vehicles (EVs) become the majority. There are a number of concerns related to the future of gas stations and we will delve into that world to see how they will have to evolve to keep up with the changing times.
Let's start with the idea that a "world without gas stations," is incredibly unlikely any time in the next 50 years. Gas stations will always be around in some sense, particularly in small towns without large retail markets, towns which will are significantly less likely to have many electric cars roaming through them. The vast majority of these small towns are farming communities, heavily reliant on their fuel sources. In other words, Farmer Brown from small-town Wisconsin isn't going to be using an EV to head into town to get gas for his tractor. Even with the increasing growth and acceptance of electric vehicles in the world, fuel will still remain a much-needed product for many individuals, which will ensure that gas stations stick around for a while.
Gas stations will exist in much the same way as convenience stores do now, by selling a wide variety of random goods that save the consumer a trip to a larger retailer. No one wants to pull into Walmart just to grab a gallon of milk on the way home from work. But they will swing into that gas station on the corner to run in, run out, and be back on the road in their electric car. Gas stations will be the perfect little market to quickly grab groceries, a cup of coffee, snacks, or other products without having to find parking, walk a mile to a larger retailer and stand in line to make the purchase. People are fed up with that system. We are an on-the-go nation, largely depending on gas stations to keep consumers moving with ease, success, and free of hassle.
Not only will gas stations be invaluable to smaller and larger communities in much the same way as convenience stores, but the legalization of THC (a chemical compound found in cannabis) may spark some waves too. Gas stations may be the perfect option to sell THC-based products, rather than only selling through a dispensary. In much the same way that you can visit a convenience store to pick up CBD products, in the future, you may be able to pop into your nearest local gas station for THC products as well. This would depend on each state, however.
A majority of existing gas stations are already in the early phases of learning how to adapt to the new electric vehicle technology. They're asking questions about what they need to do to install electric vehicle charging stations, how to service both fuel-based and electric cars, and looking into consumers' growing needs. The gas station retailers and the world of electric vehicles are both separately evolving and learning how to work together. It is essential that gas station retailers learn how to evolve through this process to ensure proper growth in the future. Gas stations don't have to become obsolete retailers. If they can effectively learn to adapt, they will ultimately succeed in the long run. Gas stations can ultimately thrive in a society largely run on electric.
Joel Goldstein is the President of Mr. Checkout, a national network of independent distributors.