Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) revised its guidance regarding the weight allowance of natural gas-powered trucks.
In the Q&A section of an FHWA memorandum, “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) Truck Size and Weight Provisions,” the agency poses the following question:
“Must a state allow the additional weight (for a [gross vehicle weight] of up to 82,000 pounds) for any legal natural gas vehicle operating on the interstate or within reasonable access to the interstate?”
In response, the FHWA says, “Yes, every state must allow up to 2,000 additional pounds for any legal natural gas vehicle traveling on the Interstate Highway System and within reasonable access to the interstate. The additional weight allowance is the difference between (1) the weight of the vehicle attributable to the natural gas tank and fueling system carried by that vehicle, and (2) the weight of a comparable diesel tank and fueling system, up to a maximum GVW of 82,000 pounds.”
In response, NGVAmerica explains that the agency’s prior guidance was not clear on whether the 2,000-lb. weight allowance was “discretionary or mandatory for state authorities.”
“The lack of clarity had been a sticking point in moving forward with state guidance and also raised questions about how practical the exemption would be if only some states were required to recognize it,” the group says. “The revised guidance makes it clear that all state authorities must allow natural gas trucks operating on interstate roads to operate with the increased weight.”
The group notes it had been urging the agency to issue revised guidance and was “expecting [it] for many months.”