States pursue anti-idling incentives

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/21/2013

Efforts are underway in multiple states to increase the incentive to get truck drivers to stop idling.

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 idling-reduction equipment.

In recent years many states have adopted rules at their statehouses to increase the weight limits for trucks equipped with auxiliary power units up to an additional 400 pounds.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 29 states have laws that authorize the weight allowance for commercial vehicles. There are 15 states where the weight allowance is granted by enforcement policy rather than by state law.

States yet to permit the 400-pound exemption are California, Hawaii, Kentucky, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Tennessee. The weight allowance doesn’t affect state highway funding eligibility.

On Oct. 1, the law known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) took effect. Included in the new transportation law is a provision to allow states to increase their APU weight exemption another 150 pounds to 550 pounds.

A Tennessee lawmaker has introduced multiple bills increase the incentive to stop idling. Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, has two bills that would offer weight allowances for idling-reduction equipment of 400 pounds and 550 pounds, respectively.

In neighboring Missouri, one bill – SB43 – would adopt the new 550-pound rule.

A New Hampshire bill would go one step further to accommodate additional equipment. HB196 would double the exemption to 800 pounds.

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

OOIDA has long advocated adoption of the idling-reduction incentive, even before the federal law allowed states to implement the exemption. Association leadership supports the weight exemption as reasonable because it’s another inducement to install APUs on trucks.

The Association maintains a state-by-state breakdown on the status of the 400-pound exemptions.

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