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Trucking Groups Urge Government Support for Fuel-Saving APUs

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) urged state governments in the United States and provincial governments in Canada to revise their fuel tax systems to encourage truckers to use environmentally friendly idling reduction technology.

In a joint statement, CTA CEO David Bradley and ATA CEO and President Bill Graves asked International Fuel Tax Association Inc. (IFTA) member jurisdictions to stop taxing fuel used to operate idling reduction technology, mainly the auxiliary power unit (APU) that reduces diesel fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by large truck engines. The International Fuel Tax Agreement is the organization of states and provinces through which motor carriers' fuel use tax obligations are administered uniformly throughout North America.

The primary reason for large truck engine idling is to heat or cool the cab for long-haul drivers during periods of rest. However, several studies have clearly shown that using a heavy-duty truck engine to power the heating and cooling of a truck cab is inefficient and environmentally unsound.

"The use of idling reduction technology could reduce the fuel consumption of a long-haul tractor by some 1,900 gallons or 7,200 liters per year-which equates to an emissions reduction of greenhouse gases of some 42,000 pounds or 19 metric tons. The tax system has a role to play in accelerating the use of this emission saving technology," said CTA CEO David Bradley.

The cost of an APU varies with the type of device, anywhere from $6,000 to a top price of perhaps $10,000, with an average of about $7,750. Likewise, the fuel consumption of an APU will vary, but may be estimated for an over-the-road operation at 500 gallons or 1,900 liters a year. At the average state fuel tax rate of about 22 cents per gallon and provincial rate of 15 cents a liter, an exemption would represent a tax savings of more than $100 a year.

"Coupled with operational savings, this is a significant incentive for installing an APU," said Graves of ATA. "Governments have a role in regulating emission reductions from the trucking community but the public sector must also recognize its role in providing the business community with incentives to further reduce these emissions."

ATA and CTA have invited the states and provinces to meet with national staff of the trucking associations or with local associations to provide more insight into the environmental benefits associated with this proposed tax change.

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