Operating trucks between 10,001 and 26,000 pounds? You may need trip permits
Determining whether the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and the International Registration Plan (IRP) applies to your operation can be confusing. Many think that because a vehicle or combination is under 26,000 pounds, IFTA and IRP credentials or permits do not apply. That’s not always the case, however.
IFTA and IRP applicability
For starters, let’s take a closer look at the definition of a “qualified” or “apportionable” vehicle under IFTA and IRP. A qualified or apportionable vehicle is one that operates interstate and:
- Has a gross weight or registered gross weight that exceeds 26,000 pounds;
- Is operated in combination and the combination has a gross weight or registered weight that exceeds 26,000 pounds; or
- Has three or more axles regardless of its weight (do not count trailer axles).
When trucks or combinations have two axles and are at or under 26,000 pounds gross weight or registered gross weight, IFTA does not apply.
IRP applicability to vehicles under 26,000 pounds
Under IRP, vehicles that have two axles and are at or under 26,000 pounds can be registered with IRP apportioned plates at your option.
Many often wonder, “If I’m not required to apportion my vehicles, why would I?” It’s a great question, and the answer comes down to state-by-state rules. Some states – Â not all, though – require trip permits, or apportioned plates, to operate these vehicles in the states. Permits may be required for simply traveling through the state or engaging in intrastate transportation within a state.
The states decide how they’re going to regulate these types of vehicles. About half of the states require trip permits or IRP-apportioned registration to travel into, through, or within the states.
Your options for compliance
Whether you obtain IRP apportioned registration for vehicles between 10,001 pounds and 26,000 pounds will depend on the states in which you operate and the frequency of operation in those states. If you are making trips into or within states that require trip permits, but the trips will be infrequent, then trip permits may be best. If you’re regularly operating into or within states that require trip permits for these vehicles, it may be less time consuming and most cost-effective to obtain IRP-apportioned registration for interstate travel.
If you’re operating only in states that do not require trip permits whatsoever, then you’re off the hook! You can operate between or within those states with your state base plates.
The bottom line here is that when you’re operating vehicles between 10,001 and 26,000 pounds across state lines, it’s always best to first check if permits are required by the intended state(s) of operation. If you fail to comply with the permit requirements, you could receive a ticket.