Minnesota offers 4% loans to help truckers buy APUs

With diesel fuel prices climbing to over $4/gal., low-interest loans can help long-haul truckers save money, stay cool this summer, and reduce pollution on overnight rest stops, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The organization is offering 4% loans to owner-operator long-haul truckers and small trucking companies to purchase idle-reduction devices.

Long-haul trucks consume about 1 gal. of fuel per hour while idling. But a diesel auxiliary power unit will use only one-fifth as much. A 10-hour overnight rest can cost a trucker $40 with diesel fuel at $4/gal., compared to just $8 when operating a diesel APU. In addition, APUs help provide lower-cost temperature control that helps many truckers get a better night’s sleep, the MPCA pointed out.

“Even if the truck driver idles just 150 hours per month that’s $600 in fuel,” said Mike Nelson, who runs the loan program for the MPCA. “A trucker would save more than $200 per month even with the loan payment, routine maintenance, and fuel. And reducing truck engine idling will also extend the life of their truck engine.”

“Best decision I ever made,” Paul Ahles, long-haul truck owner-operator said of the MPCA program. “I would absolutely recommend getting an APU. The MPCA has been great to work with.”

Ahles has used his new APU on an older truck for nine months and estimates he’s saving $500 per month in fuel idling costs even after deducting a loan payment and fuel and maintenance costs. Ahles averages about 266 hours of idling per month.

Small trucking companies and owner-operators are encouraged to request APU loan applications from the MPCA before April 23. Applications are available on the Small Business Auxiliary Power Unit Loan Program webpage. For more information, email Mike Nelson at [email protected] or call 651-757-2121 or 800-985-4247.

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