States on verge of adopting 550-pound APU weight exemptions

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/6/2013

A push at statehouses around the country would 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 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, 30 states have laws that authorize the weight allowance for commercial vehicles. In 15 states 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 and Rhode Island. The weight allowance doesn’t affect state highway funding eligibility.

The federal transportation law signed a year ago 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.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill into law that offers weight allowances for idling-reduction equipment up to 550 pounds. The incentive takes effect July 1.

Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, said that truckers want to be able to take advantage of new technologies available, such as adding auxiliary power units.

In neighboring Missouri, a lengthy transportation bill on its way to the governor’s desk includes a provision to increase the state’s 400-pound exemption to 550 pounds.

One year after adopting the 400-pound rule, New Hampshire lawmakers routed a bill to the governor’s desk that would accommodate additional equipment. HB196 would authorize the 550-pound exemption.

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 weight exemptions.

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