Federal Update
‘Bailout’ to provide excise tax break for some APU purchasers

By Charlie Morasch
staff writer


It’s been called a bailout, a giveaway, and a way of avoiding an economic recession among other things, but the $700 billion congressional plan approved in early October also will benefit some truck drivers.

The legislation, HR6049, includes an exemption to the excise tax on new APUs when they are bought with new trucks. The resolution – called the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 – was rolled into the $700 billion bailout signed into law on Oct. 3.

New truck purchases include a 12 percent excise tax, and new APU purchases with new trucks also include an excise tax equal to 12 percent of the APU’s retail price. With the provision rolled into the $700 billion bailout plan, buyers of new trucks wouldn’t owe the 12 percent excise tax normally applied to a new APU.

The House of Representatives voted down one previous bailout consideration on Sept. 29.

The Senate, however, approved a new version of the bailout with a 74-25 vote on Oct. 1, which was later approved by the House 263-171.

Democrats sweetened the bailout pot in order to win more support from congressional Republicans, said Mike Joyce, OOIDA’s director of legislative affairs.

Tax breaks are often rolled into other big bills, said Joyce, who added that various price breaks on APUs have been kicked around Capitol Hill for years.

“We’re very pleased that the Congress was truly beginning to understand technology in the marketplace, and that some of this technology can help truckers,” Joyce told Land Line. “It’s one of several different initiatives that come from the idea of getting APUs into the marketplace.”

One billion gallons of diesel are idled away each year, Joyce said, and helping drivers reduce idling while maintaining cab comfort and other power is essential.

Joyce said he’s hopeful that the next Congress will consider tax breaks for truckers who install new APUs on older trucks.

“When 90 percent of the trucking industry is made up of small motor carriers who are probably running older equipment, it’s imperative that Congress provide an appropriate incentive for those hardworking truckers,” Joyce said. LL