Maryland adopts 550-pound APU exemption

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 5/2/2014

A new law in Maryland is intended to boost the incentive for truckers to avoid 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. 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 and Rhode Island. The weight allowance doesn’t affect state highway funding eligibility.

The 2012 federal transportation law 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 trucks that consume less fuel, but weigh more.

Through the end of 2013, seven states have acted to authorize APU exemptions up to 550 pounds. The states are Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Virginia. The Florida Legislature is also considering the change.

Previously SB72, the Maryland law also increases the state’s 400-pound exemption to 550 pounds. It takes effect Oct. 1.

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