Bill Offers Tax Credit for Buying Idling Reduction Units

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) on July 30 introduced bipartisan legislation, the Idling Reduction Tax Credit Act of 2009, that is supported by both truckers and environmentalists.

The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) and provides a tax credit for the purchase of idling reduction units. These units reduce the amount of fuel used when a truck is running but not on the road. They are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay partnership and are designed to reduce the gas consumption and environmental burden of long-duration truck idling.

Some surveys suggest that trucks spend between 6-8 hours a day idling, for up to 300 days a year. The cost to truckers and the environment is great, and idling reduction units can reduce these costs by powering the truck services (air conditioning, heat, electricity) through the use of a small auxiliary power unit. Unfortunately, these units cost up to $8,500. The bill offers a 50 percent tax credit, capped at $3,000, which will help ease the burden of purchasing the equipment.

"We have truckers and environmentalists on the same page," said Blumenauer. "We can cut costs and the output of global warming pollution by making it affordable for truckers to buy the equipment needed to reduce fuel wasted when idling. It's a win for everyone – truckers, public health, and the planet."

"The American Trucking Associations applauds Blumenauer and Granger for proposing financial incentives to make the purchase of idle reduction systems more affordable and widely distributed. This is a major step that will allow the trucking industry to further reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 67 to 133 million tons over a 10-year period and a much larger impact than we could expect to see otherwise," said American Trucking Association President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Graves.

"Nearly 90 percent of the trucking industry is made up of motor carriers that have fewer than six trucks in their fleets," said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. "These small business truckers literally drive our economy but rarely have the disposable income to make large, up-front purchases for idle reduction technologies. A tax credit would go a long way to create a real incentive to purchase idle reduction technologies, and it is a win for the environment, a win for lower fuel consumption, a win for hard working truckers, and a win for safety on our highways."

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