December 17, 2014 11:40 AM, EST
Senate Approves Bill That Would Save Trucking Industry Millions
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

A bill that provides millions of dollars in tax credits to the trucking industry in everything from truck buying to using natural gas has been approved by the Senate and sent to President Obama.

Under the measure, carriers who bought new trucks or other equipment this year will be able to take the full depreciation write-off for the purchase year.

Usually, the federal tax code requires that such investments be spread over three years.

The bill the president is expected to sign also allows those who pump natural-gas fuel into trucks a 50-cents-per- gallon tax credit. The credit can be claimed by fuel suppliers and carriers with their own natural-gas fueling facilities.

Another tax credit will go to those who build natural-gas fueling facilities, be they trucking companies or fuel suppliers.

These and other tax credits are only available, however, for this tax year. Congress passed only a one-year extender bill, meaning the tax breaks are good only until Dec. 31.

Many in the natural gas and trucking industries have complained that does not allow them to make long-range business plans.

Many of the tax credits were available in 2013 but expired in December of that year.

Also included in the bill is the $1-per-gallon tax credit for biodiesel producers. The tax credit helps underwrite the higher cost of producing that alternative fuel relative to the cost of diesel production.

Other tax credits that trucking can claim under the measure include one for the use of propane fuel, in trucks or in forklifts for those carriers who have warehouses and distribution centers.

The bill also contains tax breaks for property improvement, such as for trucking companies enhancing their terminals.

Within the bill, there also is an extension of the exclusion of gains on small business stock.