States advance anti-idling incentive

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 4/27/2011

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 states have laws that authorize commercial vehicles equipped with auxiliary power units to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds. There are 18 states where the weight allowance is granted by enforcement policy rather than by state law.

Four states to take up the issue this year to make the 400-pound rule a statute are Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire and Texas.

In Maryland, the governor signed into law a bill to make the 400-pound rule statutory. It takes effect Oct. 1, 2011. The New Hampshire bill is awaiting the governor’s signature, while the Illinois and Texas bills are advancing through their respective statehouses.

Supporters say the allowance rewards independent truck drivers and large trucking firms for using technology to increase fuel economy and decrease emissions.

In New Hampshire, state Rep. Robert Williams, D-Concord, noted that the change would allow “cost conscious, environmentally friendly truckers to regain the 400 pounds of gross weight they lose when they utilize this technology.”

Williams said the result would be a win-win for the trucking industry. He told lawmakers during discussion on the bill that it would reward trucking operations “for utilizing technology that they voluntarily purchased and installed on their vehicles to increase fuel economy and decrease 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.

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

OOIDA Senior Member Danny Schnautz of Pasadena, TX, said the weight exemption would make a big difference. Schnautz is in charge of operations, sales and accounting for Clark Freight Lines.

“The 2010 engines already create a heavier truck than previous engines. Anything we can do to get an extra allowance is one more point that helps us justify APUs,” he said.

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