Bill would give incentives to cut engine idling

Legislation introduced by Rep Kay Granger (R-TX) would provide financial incentives to encourage the trucking industry to reduce engine idling.

Called the Idling Reduction Tax Credit Act of 2004, the bill would offer truckers federal income tax credits to buy alternative power source devices and switch to the device for power when a truck is stopped rather than running a truck's engine.

This bill would permit a tax credit of up to $3,500 for each truck outfitted with equipment termed “idling reduction devices.” These units power cabin heating or cooling systems and trailer refrigeration units normally handled by the truck's main engine. The tax credit would pay for about half of the device's cost.

As part of the legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretary of Energy would certify which alternative idle power devices meet appropriate standards to qualify for the tax credit.

The goal of Granger's legislation is endorsed by the American Trucking Associations (ATA). Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer, said, “Given the constant financial pressures on trucking companies to comply with costly federal equipment mandates, a tax credit for new stationary power sources makes a lot of sense and should help encourage their use.”

About 15.5 million trucks operate in the United States, and 1.9 million classified as tractor-trailer trucks will benefit the most from such tax credits, according to industry experts. Trucking accounts for about 12.8% of the motor fuel sold in the nation.

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