In hopes of boosting the incentive for truck drivers to stop idling, the Wisconsin Legislature has approved a bill that would raise the allowable weight limit for trucks.
States were given the ability in 2005 to allow heavy-duty trucks to exceed the 80,000-pound maximum weight limit to encourage the use of idle-reduction equipment.
During the next decade many states adopted rules to increase the weight limits for trucks equipped with auxiliary power units up to an additional 400 pounds. Wisconsin is among the states that acted.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 17 states have laws that authorize the weight allowance for commercial vehicles. There are 14 states where the weight allowance is granted by enforcement policy rather than by state law.
In 2012, the federal transportation law included a provision to allow states to increase their APU weight exemption another 150 pounds to 550 pounds. The change was sought to accommodate newer technologies available for truckers that consume less fuel, but weigh more.
Since then, 13 states have adopted laws to authorize APU exemptions up to 550 pounds. On July 1, Georgia became the latest state to make the switch. Arkansas grants 550-pound exemptions via enforcement policy.
The Wisconsin Assembly recently voted to advance a bill to boost the state’s weight exemption from 400 pounds to 550 pounds. The vote clears the way for the bill, SB198, to move to the governor’s desk. Senate lawmakers previously approved it.
States yet to permit a weight exemption for APU use are California, Hawaii, Kentucky, North Carolina and Rhode Island. The weight allowance doesn’t affect state highway funding eligibility.
A full list of state APU weight exemptions is available.
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