January 6, 2020. NGVAmerica released an updated Natural Gas Vehicle Weight Allowance Guidance flyer for use by interested natural gas fleets across the United States.
The flyer was developed to assist fleets in communicating new federal guidance related to the 2,000 lbs. increase to the existing 80,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight limit operating on the interstate highway system. NGVAmerica developed the flyer as a resource for use by natural gas vehicle operators on the road, to be included with other necessary documentation.
The flyer was updated in response to the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) issuance on November 4, 2019 of a long-awaited memorandum clarifying earlier changes to the federal weight exemption for natural gas vehicles. The memorandum updates questions and answers previously issued by FHWA to incorporate changes enacted in February 2019 as part of Public Law 116-6.
As expected, the new guidance clarifies that natural gas vehicles qualify for a flat 2,000-pound weight exemption. As before, the weight allowance is applicable to single axle, tandem axle, and federal bridge formula maximum weight limits and is mandatory on interstate highways.
The guidance no longer requires an accounting of the net weight of the natural gas fuel systems; that language was struck from the federal statute. The change – long championed by NGVAmerica – makes it easier for businesses to take advantage of the weight allowance and simplifies needed guidance to state enforcement authorities.
The increased weight allowance was initially included in The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015. Since then, NGVAmerica has worked to clarify and extend the federal highway limit to state and local roads in 33 states.
The flyer lists the Federal law providing for the increase as well as commonly asked questions included in the FHWA guidance. Page Two includes information on how local and state regulatory and law enforcement officials can easily identify vehicles fueled by natural gas.