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BackgroundFor more than 25 years, the federal weight limit for trucks has been set at 80,000 pounds despite the technological advances that have occurred. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Transportation now estimates that the amount of freight shipped throughout the United States in 2025 will have increased by 87 percent since 2000. While companies are being called on to ship more goods, they often hit the federal weight limit well before they fill up all of the available space in their trailers.



The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA)

The National Potato Council strongly supports legislative and regulatory efforts to increase trucking efficiency in order to allow growers, packers and shippers to consolidate goods, reduce their number of shipments, and enjoy better fuel efficiency.

The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA) introduced in Congress would give states the option to set federal interstate weight limits of up to 97,000 pounds for trucks equipped with six axles, which would preserve existing current safety standards on roads today. Current law allows up to 80,000 pounds on trucks with five axles. Under SETA, shippers of heavier cargo could more fully fill existing 53-foot trucks. Combined with corresponding safety measures, increased interstate trucking efficiency will be good for producers, consumers, taxpayers, and other drivers on our nation’s highways.

By cutting the number of trucks needed for shipments, SETA would:

  • Make U.S. industries more competitive against foreign companies in countries with higher truck weight limits;
  • Save two billion gallons of diesel fuel annually by increasing the ratio of ton-miles per gallon;
  • Promote safer roads by decreasing the number of truck miles traveled; and
  • Save $2.4 billion in highway repair restoration by limiting road wear and tear.