The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued a Memorandum in Q&A format to publish revised guidance notes on weight provision for natural gas powered trucks. The Memo’s subject is Information: Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) Truck Size and Weight Provisions and it was updated April 6th.
The Memorandum includes several clarifications of importance for the natural gas fueled transportation sector, two of which are listed below:
- A Natural Gas Vehicle, if operated by an engine fueled primarily by natural gas, may exceed any vehicle weight limit (up to a maximum gross vehicle weight of 82,000 pounds) under 23 U.S.C. 127 by an amount that is equal to 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.
- 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.
Welcoming the amendments, Jeff Clarke, General Counsel & Director, Regulatory Affairs for NGVAmerica says “the revised guidance is an important step in providing assurances to truckers that they will be able to legally operate natural gas trucks without a reduction in payload, an important consideration for fleets that operate near or at full load. It also should assist efforts in getting more states to open up all their roads, not just the interstate roads, to natural gas trucks.”
To find our more about FHWA specifications for Vehicle Size and Weight, go to their website at https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/sw/index.htm. The guidance referred to above is found under FAST Act Truck Size and Weight Guidance – February 24, 2016, that being the date at which the Q&A was originally issued.
Sources: FHWA and NGVAmerica