Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Natural gas vehicle weight exemption now mandatory for states

The Federal Highway Administration recently issued new guidance for all 50 states on a weight exemption for natural gas powered trucks. The exemption allows a weight increase based on the difference between the combined weight of the fueling system and tank on a natural gas vehicle, and the weight of these components on an equivalent diesel-powered vehicle, up to 2,000 pounds.

After the exemption was authorized by the 2015 FAST Act highway bill, FHWA issued guidance stating that the legislative language gave states the option to allow a weight increase. However, the new guidance, which was issued in response to a Congressional directive, changes this interpretation, declaring that states must allow the exemption for trucks traveling on the Interstate Highway System and on reasonable access routes.

The exemption takes effect immediately, regardless of whether states have revised their laws. Here are the questions and answers in the revised guidance document related to natural gas vehicles. See Question 14 under “Interstate Weight Limits.”