New bills in Congress would give tax incentives for APU purchases

| 5/12/2006

Two new bills making their way through the U.S. House and Senate could give tax credits to truckers who purchase anti-idling technology, such as auxiliary power units.

On Tuesday, May 4, U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, introduced SB2748 – also known as the Enhanced Energy Security Act of 2006 – a bipartisan energy-related bill aimed at reducing the nation’s demand for oil and natural gas.

Bingaman’s initiative in the Senate is a companion to HR4409, an energy-related bill in the U.S. House sponsored by Rep. Jack Kingston, R-GA.

Although primarily aimed at reducing the nation’s fuel dependency and developing alternative energy technologies, the bills also contain language similar to the Idling Reduction Tax Credit Act of 2006, a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, which has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.

If Bingaman’s bill is passed, it would allow a 25 percent tax credit up to $1,000 for the purchase of anti-idling devices. Kingston’s bill, on the other hand, would allow a 50 percent tax credit on purchases up to $3,500.

Bingaman’s bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee on May 4, the same day it was introduced. Kingston’s bill was actually introduced in the 2005 legislative session, but stalled in committee. It was reintroduced in the House on March 29.

In addition to the tax credit, Bingaman’s bill requires the federal government to develop a plan to save up to 2.5 million barrels of oil by 2016, and 10 million barrels by 2031. It also promotes the development of new technologies such as plug-in-hybrids and advanced light weight materials for use in vehicles, and extends the renewable energy, energy efficiency and alternative fuels and vehicles provisions in the 2005 Energy Policy Act through 2010.

“We have a major national energy problem on our hands, and just a few short months left before Congress adjourns for the year,” Bingaman said in a written statement. “This legislation, which has support from both Democrats and Republicans, would help our country make significant progress in our quest to free us from our dependency on foreign oil and natural gas. I hope we can get broad support for this legislation and get it to the president’s desk.”

– By Aaron Ladage, staff writer