New York adds weight allowance for APUs

A new law in New York allows truckers to avoid sacrificing payload for cab comfort. In addition, a U.S. Senate proposal could be in the offing to compensate truckers for a portion of the purchase price of idle-reduction technology.

As of Nov. 30, 2010, the weight limit was increased for large trucks equipped with idle-reduction technology. Commercial vehicles equipped with auxiliary power units are now authorized to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.

Supporters say the weight exception 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.

A memo attached to the bill – A8300 – explains that exemptions enhance air quality and help to eliminate truck idling while the driver meets his or her federal- and state-mandated rest periods.

Also, the exemption means that “the installation of an APU will not diminish the amount of freight that a truck can legally carry,” the memo reads. “While 400 pounds may not seem like a significant amount, it can easily translate to an additional pallet of freight.”

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.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 states have laws that allow the weight exemption. Until now, New York was one of 18 other 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.

OOIDA has also 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 idle-reduction technologies. LL

By Keith Goble, state legislative editor