About the Alternative Fueling Station Data
Learn about the station location data collection methods, update schedules, and station details.
Data Collection Methods
The data in the Alternative Fueling Station Locator are gathered and verified through a variety of methods. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) obtains information about new stations from trade media, Clean Cities coordinators, a Submit New Station form on the Station Locator website, and through collaborating with infrastructure equipment and fuel providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and industry groups.
Users submitting updates through the "Submit New Station" or "Report a Change" forms will receive an email confirmation of their submittal. NREL will verify station details before the station is added or updated in the Station Locator. The turn-around time for updates will depend on the completeness of the information provided, as well as the responsiveness of the station or point of contact.
NREL regularly compares its station data with those of other relevant trade organizations and websites. Differences in methodologies, data confirmation, and inclusion criteria may result in slight variations between NREL's database and those maintained by other organizations. NREL also collaborates with alternative fuel industry groups to identify discrepancies in data and develop data sharing processes and best practices. NREL and its data collection subcontractor are currently collaborating with natural gas, electric drive, biodiesel, ethanol, and propane industry groups to ensure best practices are being followed for identifying new stations and confirming station changes in the most-timely manner possible.
Station Update Schedule
Existing stations in the database are contacted at least once a year on an established schedule to verify they are still operational and providing the fuel specified. Based on an established data collection schedule, the database is updated on an ongoing basis. Stations that are no longer operational or no longer provide alternative fuel are removed from the database as they are identified.
Mapping and Counting Methods
Each point on the map is counted as one station in the station count. A station appears as one point on the map, regardless of the number of fuel dispensers or charging outlets at that location. Station addresses are geocoded and mapped using an automatic geocoding application. The geocoding application returns the most accurate location based on the provided address. Station locations may also be provided by external sources (e.g., station operators) and/or verified in a geographic information system (GIS) tool like Google Earth, Google Maps, or Google StreetView. This information is considered highly accurate, and these coordinates override any information generated using the geocoding application.
Notes about Specific Station Types
The Station Locator defaults to searching only for public stations. To include private stations in the search, use the "More search options" drop-down menu.
Stations with an access listing of "Private - Fleet customers only" may allow other entities to fuel through a business-to-business arrangement. For more information, fleet customers should refer to the information listed in the details section for that station and contact the station directly.
The Station Locator only includes stations offering biodiesel blends of 20% (B20) and above for a certain period of time during the year. The available blends at each station location are displayed as additional details when the station location is selected.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)
An electric charging station, or EVSE, appears as one point on the map, regardless of the number of charging outlets at that location. The number and type of charging outlets and connector types available at each station location are displayed in the details page for each station location. Users may search for EVSE by charger type (i.e., charging level), connector or outlet type, or network by using the "More search options" drop-down menu.
Each point on the map is counted as one station in the station count. Both the total number of stations and charging outlets appear in the EVSE search results, as well as in the Alternative Fueling Station Counts by State table.
The Station Locator imports AeroVironment, Blink, ChargePoint, EVgo, GE WattStation, and SemaCharge network station data directly from these networks on a daily basis. Please note there may be variations in the formatting of these stations from other alternative fuels in the Station Locator. Also note, NREL cannot edit station information for the networks listed above. To suggest edits to these stations, please contact the charging network directly with the recommended changes.
Please Note: Residential EVSE locations and "wall outlets" not designated for vehicle charging are not included in the Station Locator.
Ethanol (E85) Stations
The Station Locator includes stations offering high-level ethanol-gasoline blends (E85). Users may limit their search to E85 stations offering mid-level blends, such as E30, by using the "More search options" drop-down menu.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Propane) Stations
Because many public propane stations serve customers other than drivers and fleets, NREL collaborated with propane industry partners to establish and represent the differences. Each public propane station is designated as a "primary" or "secondary" service type, with both types able to fuel propane vehicles. However, locations with a "primary" designation offer vehicle-specific fueling capabilities and fuel priced specifically for use in vehicles. In 2016, NREL updated the "primary" and "secondary" designations.
Public locations with the "primary" designation must be staffed during regular business hours and must not require drivers to call ahead in order to fuel. Primary stations must also accept credit cards or fleet cards as a payment type. Primary stations must also be equipped with a dedicated (or purpose‐built) fuel dispenser for vehicle fueling. The changes to individual station designations based on this updated criteria will be made throughout 2016. As of January 2017, all stations will reflect the new "primary" and "secondary" designation criteria.
Service designations are available in the details page for each public station. The Station Locator defaults to showing only public "primary" stations. Users may expand their search to include all propane stations by using the "More search options" drop-down menu and selecting the "include stations with limited vehicle-specific fueling capabilities" check box. To see private propane stations, select both the "include private stations" and "include stations with limited vehicle-specific fueling capabilities" check boxes.
Note that several states, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, require or allow in-state propane vehicles to obtain a decal in lieu of paying state fuel taxes at the pump. Out-of-state vehicles may still be subject to taxes at the pump. Determinations about price differential (for the purposes of the primary or secondary propane station designation) are made assuming that the vehicle has an in-state decal. For more information about state decals and similar laws and regulations, visit the AFDC Laws & Incentives database.
Natural Gas Stations
Some compressed and liquefied natural gas stations are not able to fuel larger vehicles due to access limitations, such as a low canopy, insufficient parking adjacent to the pump, or limited space to maneuver. Natural gas station details include vehicle accessibility information, specifically the vehicle classes that can physically access the fueling infrastructure. Please note, this field does not take into account station capacity, throughput, or other considerations. Options include:
- Accommodates passenger vehicles only (Class 1-2).
- Accommodates medium-duty vehicles (Class 3-5).
- Accommodates heavy-duty vehicles (Class 6-8)
- Accommodates all vehicle sizes and classes.
Compressed natural gas stations also list fill type and fill pressure in the details page. These fields are also searchable under "More search options" drop-down menu.
Fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) drivers have access to hydrogen stations in certain areas of the country. Because this technology is in the early commercialization stages, the status of hydrogen fueling stations may change more frequently than other fuel types. To allow users to monitor station status more closely, some hydrogen stations in the Station Locator include an outside link on the details page for status information.
NREL is collaborating with industry groups to revisit the definition of public hydrogen stations, and refine the Station Locator data to differentiate between stations that are only available to a certain subset of customers (e.g., require an access card, PIN, or training) and those that are considered retail locations (e.g., accept payment at the point of sale).
Caution: The AFDC recommends users verify a station is open, available to the public, and has the desired alternative fuel prior to making a trip to that location.