Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, June 2, 2022:
New York suspends fuel tax until 2023
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul this week announced the suspension of certain taxes on gasoline and diesel, which took effect Wednesday, June 1, and will remain suspended through December. The state’s diesel tax rate is 15.55 cents per gallon.
"Fuel prices have surged in recent months, hurting working families and small businesses the most, and it is crucial that we provide New Yorkers relief," Hochul said. "By suspending certain fuel taxes for the next seven months, New York is providing some $609 million in direct relief to New Yorkers -- a critical lifeline for those who need it most.”
Twenty-five counties across the state have also taken action to set temporary caps on the sales tax charged per gallon of gas and diesel.
Also beginning June 1, Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Monroe, Putnam, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Ulster, Wayne and Yates counties in New York will collect tax only on the first $2 charged per gallon of gas and diesel, regardless of the actual price at the pump. Seneca County had previously capped its local sales tax in the same manner and continues to.
Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Jefferson, Livingston, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Suffolk and Westchester counties will collect tax only on the first $3 charged per gallon of gas and diesel, regardless of the actual price at the pump.
[Related: Independents worry fuel prices will just keep rising]
CVSA launches updated emergency declarations website
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, working with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, has updated, improved and re-released its emergency declarations website.
In addition to the content previously available on the site, CVSA's emergency declarations website now also provides:
- Information on changes to allowable weights through a standard set of pertinent information, which includes contact information for each state’s overweight permitting office
- An interactive map of declarations throughout Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
- The ability to subscribe to notices of new declarations
- Information on the issuer of the relief, the type of relief granted, and emergency declarations’ beginning and end dates
- Comprehensive exemption details, including all relevant information for vehicle permits for size, overweight restrictions on interstates, waivers for overweight restrictions on state roads, and marking and lighting relief
- Contact information for the jurisdiction’s issuer
[Related: COVID-emergency hours waiver extends again, through end of August]
Previously, the emergency declarations website focused on emergency relief of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 390-399 provided to motor carriers through the states or FMCSA. CVSA has expanded the site’s offerings and capabilities and improved the user experience, CVSA said.
During an emergency, moving relief supplies efficiently to an affected area may require shippers to route through multiple jurisdictions. To facilitate speedy delivery of such supplies, jurisdictions may use emergency declarations to temporarily alter certain requirements for shippers and motor carriers. There may be multiple sources of information about waivers, amendments, extensions, exemptions, executive orders, etc., as well as changes to allowable vehicle weights issued during emergencies, which results in confusion among drivers, shippers, motor carriers and state departments of transportation.
CVSA says the emergency declarations website aims to eliminate that confusion by offering one easy-to-access, up-to-date public online repository that the commercial motor vehicle enforcement community and the motor carrier industry may reference at any time.
“Providing necessary regulatory relief during emergencies is crucial to preventing loss of life and preserving critical transportation infrastructure,” said CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney. “CVSA’s emergency declarations website is a reliable online source for emergency information, resulting in improved movement of critical relief supplies during national, regional and local emergencies.”
CVSA will be offering a webinar on Friday, June 24, about the enhanced CVSA emergency declarations website and its new features.
[Related: Hours regs waived for shipments of baby formula]
Eaton introduces 48-volt exhaust aftertreatment heater
Eaton announced its eMobility business has introduced a 48-volt programmable power electronics control unit for electrically heated catalysts that can be used by commercial vehicle manufacturers to meet tightening emissions regulations.
Rapidly warming up the exhaust aftertreatment catalyst, and keeping it warm during low engine load operation, is essential for optimal performance to reduce harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) exhaust emissions, Eaton said.
“Commercial vehicle manufacturers face new challenges generating and controlling this level of electrical power for a single vehicle accessory,” said Tom Stoltz, chief engineer for 48-volt systems in Eaton’s eMobility business. “Our control unit helps them overcome these challenges and enables electrical integration in meeting future ultralow nitrogen oxide emissions regulations.”
[Related: California sued by truck and engine makers over allegedly too-short NOx emissions window]
The air-cooled electric catalyst heater controller is part of Eaton’s broader 48-volt electrical system portfolio, which contains several technologies that allow manufacturers to integrate 48-volt components in next-generation vehicles. Eaton’s family of electric heater power electronics controllers are being developed for solutions between 2 kW and 15 kW of power and operate with up to 99% peak efficiency.
The controller is designed to receive power commands from the aftertreatment system, provide soft-start and soft-stop capabilities for assisting in maintaining system voltage control, and diagnostic feedback of the heater element.
This technology comes at a time when vehicle manufacturers are facing tightening emissions standards around the globe. In the U.S., the California Air Resources Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are introducing more stringent regulations in 2024 and 2027. Collectively, the new regulations are designed to reduce tailpipe NOx limits by up to 90%, thus accelerating the need for global engine manufacturers to employ additional emission-reducing strategies such as electric catalyst heating.