Today, Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced legislation that would provide tax credits for purchasers of hybrid and plug-in hybrid heavy duty trucks. This bill will extend the existing heavy duty hybrid tax credit and create a tax credit for heavy duty plug-in hybrid trucks, helping manufacturers reach the economies of scale by bringing down the costs of hybrid and plug-in hybrid technologies. The plug-in tax credit was included in the Senate passed stimulus bill, but was dropped in conference. The revised credit is based on a percentage of the vehicle's incremental cost, up to $15,000 in costs are recognized for those vehicles weighing up to 14,000 lbs and up to $100,000 for vehicles weighing more than 33,000 lbs. The tax credits would expire in 2014.
"The challenge for hybrid and plug-in hybrid technologies is cost. Advanced batteries and components are new -- and expensive -- technologies. In the medium and heavy duty sector, these costs are even higher -- and vehicle turnover is lower. We are introducing this bill to provide the needed incentives for manufacturers to develop and install hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology on heavy duty trucks," Kohl said.
"I have been heartened by the impressive growth of hybrid electric vehicles on our roads over the last few years," Hatch said. "We now see dozens of models of commercial passenger vehicles that are attractive to consumers and are helping to increase our nation's energy security. Now we need to focus on increasing the number of trucks using these advanced technologies. These vehicles represent the biggest bang for our buck in terms of gallons of fuel saved and in terms of reducing emissions of actual pollutants. Heavy duty trucks use more fuel per mile, they are on the road more hours per day, and in many cases such, as with buses and delivery trucks, they spend much more time idling within our cities."
This bill also includes a tax credit of up to $3,500 for trucks stops to install electrification units so that truckers could plug in their vehicles to operate necessary systems without idling the engine. Because the Department of Transportation mandates that truckers rest for 10 hours after driving for 11 hours, truckers idle at truck stops for several hours. With this tax credit, truckers would be able to operate the heater, air conditioner, television, and other appliances without running the engine, which saves fuel, reduces air pollution, and reduces engine wear. The tax credit would end in 2014.
In addition to reducing oil use in their drive cycles, electrification is an important technology for reducing idle costs and emissions. U.S. trucks idle an average of 1830 hours per year. The idling of commercial vehicles is estimated to consume more than 2 billion gallons of fuel annually, while producing unwanted emissions. By promoting onboard electricity options for powering vehicle functions while idling and by expanding off board options, through truck stop electrification, this legislation will reduce oil use and emissions from this sector even further.
These tax credits will promote the purchases of clean, efficient electric drive trucks and the installation of anti-idling equipment that will improve our environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
This legislation is supported by the Electric Drive Transportation Association