Pennsylvania Senate advances electric-powered truck weight rule

November 9, 2020

Keith Goble

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One bill halfway through the Pennsylvania statehouse would add the Keystone State to the list of states to adopt a federal weight exemption for electric-powered trucks.

The state of Pennsylvania now authorizes affected vehicles to weigh up to 80,000 pounds.

Passed by Congress in 2015, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act raised the weight limit for natural gas and electric battery-powered tractor-trailers to 82,000 pounds. The rule authorizes states to act to raise the weight on interstates within their borders.

Going along with the feds on electric-powered trucks

The Senate voted unanimously to advance a bill to put the federal electric-powered truck rule into statute. It now moves to the House.

Sponsored by Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-Richland, SB845 would increase by 2,000 pounds the maximum gross vehicle weight for commercial vehicles powered by electric battery power to 82,000 pounds.

Langerholc was also behind a 2017 law to authorize the same weight allowance for trucks powered by natural gas.

‘Necessary’ change

Advocates say the weight allowance is necessary because heavier equipment is required to power trucks operating on electric battery power and natural gas.

Langerholc previously told state senators in a memo about the bill that “heavy duty electric tractor-trailers that run at full weight capacity weigh closer to 82,000 pounds simply due to the weight of the necessary equipment needed to make the engine and system work.”

Natural Gas Vehicles for America has reported that more than half of all states have adopted the gross vehicle weight rating provision for electric-powered trucks.

Now what?

The bill has moved to the House Transportation Committee for further consideration. If the bill clears the full House, it would head to the governor’s desk. LL

More Land Line coverage of news from Pennsylvania is available.

Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.