New Hampshire bill would make idling incentive law

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/13/2011

Sponsored by Rep. Brian Rhodes, D-Nashua, the bill would authorize commercial vehicles equipped with auxiliary power units to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.

Supporters say the weight exemption removes the disincentive that would keep truckers from using APUs. They say a reduction of 400 pounds in cargo is a major loss in hauling potential and represents an economic disincentive for using these units.

An analysis attached to the bill explains that the rule allows additional weight for vehicles using idle-reduction technology in order to promote reduction of fuel use and emissions.

States were granted federal authority in 2005 to allow heavy-duty trucks to exceed the 80,000-pound maximum weight limit to encourage the use of idling-reduction equipment.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has long advocated adoption of the 400-pound exemption, even before the federal authority was granted. The Association supports the exemption as reasonable because it’s another inducement to install APUs onto trucks.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 states have laws that allow the weight exemption. New Hampshire is one of 18 states where the weight allowance is granted by enforcement policy rather than by state law.

Other states yet to permit the 400-pound exemption are California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

The New Hampshire bill – HB117 – is in the House Transportation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Hampshire, click here.

Federal incentive sought
A U.S. Senate proposal could be in the offing to compensate truckers for a portion of the purchase price of idle-reduction technology.

OOIDA has worked closely with U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, as he developed a package of advanced energy tax incentives. Bingaman was unable to advance the effort before lawmakers in DC wrapped up their work in December. With the new Congress starting up he could soon offer a similar effort to make available tax credits for the purchase of idling-reduction technologies.

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