Maine Helps Truckers Get Low Cost Loans

by TJ on July 21, 2008

Diesel Emission Standards

Since the new millennium, the Environmental Protection Agency and other government offices have been doing everything they can to encourage truckers to upgrade their vehicles in order to comply with tightening emissions standards.  Although most truckers would be happy to do so, as saving emissions also means saving fuel costs for truckers, making needed changes to older trucks is costly, and truckers can’t always afford the initial costs of the repairs, even if those repairs would save them money in the long run.  

For truckers in Maine, however, getting those startup costs just got a little bit easier.  According to, a new state program will allow truckers to get low cost loans in order to make necessary changes to their vehicles.  The loans are also available to other businesses to want to invest in “energy saving equipment.”  

According to Maine Governor John E. Baldacci, the program was initiated for truckers and other small business owners whose profits were hurting because of oil and gas prices.  Unlike more costly loans, these loans charge only three percent interest, according to the governor.  

Truckers and other business owners can borrow up to $250,000 for energy-saving equipment, including bunk heaters that do nor require an idling engine and APUs.  The state is also seeking to make assistance available for truckers who want to invest in diesel pollution reduction equipment. The improvements will allow truckers to save around $12,000 or more per vehicle.  

Though the loans will allow truckers to save money and boost profits through technological investment, they also boast benefits for the environment, cutting carbon emissions to better comply with state and federal targets. Truckers who are interested in obtaining an investment loan can contact the program manager for state energy programs, according to For those interested in the relationship between cost and energy efficiency, contacting the program manager will not only yield more information, but will also allow truckers access to a free energy audit, which will enable truckers to explore energy-saving investments that have been personalized to their truck of small business.  

Maine truckers are not the only ones to benefit from the government’s desire to improve the environment, however. At the end of 2006, in fact, the Environmental Protection Agency joined forces with the Small Business Administration in order to provide inexpensive loans to truckers who wanted to upgrade using SmartWay kits.  

With the loans, which were sponsored by national lenders like Bank of America, Business Loan Express, and Superior Financial Group, small trucking companies could purchase kits including idle-reduction devices, special tires and equipment designed to tests aerodynamics, and exhaust after-treatment devices.  

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the kits improve fuel economy by fifteen percent and save truckers around $8,000 each year. The small loans available for the kits ranged from $5,000 to $25,000 and allowed truckers to make small, affordable payments.  

Whether truckers are looking for a federal loan or a state program like Maine’s initiative, finding funding for emissions upgrades is easier than ever. Truckers interested in investment loans should inquire at their state departments of transportation in addition to researching federal options.

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