CTA supports US weight exemption for anti-idle technology

OTTAWA — The Canadian Trucking Alliance is in favour of a 400-lb weight exemption, contained in the US Energy Policy Act of 2005, for idle reduction systems or auxiliary power units installed on heavy-duty vehicles.

“These technologies can reduce idling from trucks by as much as 90 percent, producing significant fuel and emission savings,” CTA CEO David Bradley wrote in a letter to the US Department of Transportation.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the utilization of such idling reduction technology could reduce fuel consumption of a long-haul tractor by 7,200 litres per year — which would translate into a GHG emissions reduction of 19 metric tonnes, 2.8 kilograms of PM and more than 134 kilograms of NOx, Bradley notes.

Weight exemptions for carriers that spec anti-idling devices
would help reduce tons of emissions, says CTA

The weight allowance policy also removes one of the disincentives to the trucking industry purchasing idle reduction or auxiliary power units — reduction in payload capacity for the tractor-trailer unit.

The weight of these auxiliary heating/cooling units can reduce a truck’s payload by as much as 500 lbs. A report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne Laboratories found that the weight of these auxiliary units decreased a trucking company’s overall revenue by as much 0.6 percent, CTA point out. “In an industry with razor thin margins such a revenue decrease would be deemed significant.”

US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), should devise a system of enforcement that does not preclude immediate and national utilization of this weight allowance, says Bradley.

“CTA would strongly recommend maximizing this environmental opportunity by providing to all heavy-duty vehicles, tractor-trailers and straight trucks the full 400 lb exemption — this should be provided on the gross vehicle weight of the complete configuration on all state, national and local roads.

“Furthermore, the 400 lb weight allowance should be provided for all technologies that reduce heavy-truck idling regardless of the product’s actual weight,” Bradley says.

It was reported by U.S. trucking media last month that despite the federal measure, truckers with APUs are still getting nabbed in some states for being overweight.

A memo from the FHWA’s Size and Weight Division at the time confirmed that it’s up to each individual state’s vehicle enforcement officials to recognize the allowance written in the bill.

“We determined that (the exemption) does not pre-empt state regulations or compel the states to grant the increased weight tolerance,” the memo said. “Rather, (the exemption) simply increases the federal interstate maximum weight limits to compensate for the weight of the APUs installed.”

Truckers from across the U.S. have reportedly run into roadside inspectors that refuse to acknowledge the additional weight allowance for APUs.

In the meantime, CTA is strongly recommending that FHWA does not discriminate between products supplied by the original equipment manufactures and after-market service providers.

In the long-term a single credential card could be provided to all purchasers of the equipment at the time of sale — aftermarket or at the time of purchase of the heavy-duty truck. “Again in the short-term, a 400 lb weight allowance should be provided to all vehicles that can prove they have purchased an idling reduction device or auxiliary power unit. Proof should take the form of physical evidence — the device itself or receipt of purchase.”

CTA is also lobbying Canadian officials for similar weight allowances for carriers spec’ing anti-idling technology. The group says such measures, as well as mandating speed limiters and allowing wide-base tire uniformity with duals, would cut down on engine emissions and conserve fuel.

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