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Thursday, February 25, 2016

4 Trucker Life Hacks: Simplify Your Life

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Let’s face it, Trucking Nation. You want life on the road to get easier. Heck, we can’t blame you. You’re only making sure every piece of merchandise every American buys gets to its proper location.

So we’re here to offer you some of the best ways to simplify your life in the rig! Check out these 4 trucker hacks designed to streamline your burden.


Deadlines for Days

We’re sure you have a phone—but not everybody has a smartphone. Our main encouragement for getting a fancy smartphone is automation! RigMinders is a free reminder app that keeps you up to date on your trucking deadlines. You don’t want to miss this one, Trucking Nation.



RigMinders: Stay Alert!



Head in the Cloud

Have you heard of TruckLogics? Whether you’re an owner-operator or you run your own fleet, there’s something there for you with TruckLogics. What kind of features do they offer? First off, their new LTL feature lets you dispatch multiple loads to one truck while automatically generating separate invoices for each client.

They also offer multi-user access, which grants permission and levels of access for your employees to streamline your transportation business. With these dispatch tools, you can dispatch loads with just a few clicks and track them in real-time! We’re telling you, you gotta check out TruckLogics today!

TruckLogics On-the-Go: Mobile App for Trucking Nation


Gadgets and Gizmos Aplenty

When you want to improve your life on the road, there’s always a technological solution you can look into. Speaking of TruckLogics, they recently published a list of the 10 must-have gadgets for the modern trucker. Maybe you’re in the market for a new tablet? Check out the Durabook. These military grade tablets are waterproof, can operate at 0° F, and are shock proof! Check out the link for more awesome gadgets.

Try Being Paperless

Now, we know you may have a visceral reaction to hearing “paperless,” with the FMCSA pushing e-logs on you, but there are plenty of great paperless advancements out there. Like taxes, for example. Do you really want to sit behind a stack of tax forms at home, a truck stop, or even worse—crammed in the back of your cab? Instead of filing your 2290s by hand, e-file your HVUT with our simplified, secure IRS authorized system.

Whatever you do to make your rig life easier, we can’t blame you. And when you e-file your HVUT 2290 forms, know that our dedicated, bilingual customer support team will be here to answer any of your questions. You can reach us by phone at 704.234.6005 or email at support@expresstrucktax.com.

What are your trucker life hacks?


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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

4 Types of HVUT Exempt Vehicles

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Do you need to file HVUT Form 2290 for your rig? 

Probably. Unless your vehicle is exempt, that is. And if you don’t know, you’re gonna have some issues come deadline day.

So how do you know if your vehicle is exempt from your heavy vehicle taxes?

Just ask the IRS! I’m sure they’ll get back to you with a straight answer right away. Yeah right! But that’s what we’re here for—streamlining your truck tax filing process. So we’ll break things down for you.

Suspended Vehicles

Some vehicles that count as exempt include suspended vehicles. These are based on the number of miles driven, like commercial vehicles traveling fewer than 5,000 miles annually and agricultural vehicles traveling fewer than 7,500 miles annually.

Logging Vehicles

The taxes are lower for logging vehicles—vehicles used for transporting products harvested from the forest and registered with the state agency as such. What counts as a logging vehicle? First off, the truck is used exclusively to transport a harvest from a forested site, or the truck is used exclusively to transport harvested materials from one forested site to another forested site. Even if you use a public highway between sites, your vehicle can still be considered a logging vehicle. You also need to register your truck as a logging vehicle in your base state.

Exempt Groups

I’m sure you’re not surprised to find out that federal, state, and local governments are exempt from HVUT. Sounds like Washington to watch out for themselves! Of course, this privilege extends to the American Red Cross, nonprofit volunteer fire departments, rescue squads, Indian tribal government vehicles, and mass transportation authorities.

Exempt Vehicles

Vehicles not considered highway motor vehicles are also exempt, like mobile machinery for non-transportation functions, vehicles designed for off-highway transportation, and non-transportation trailers and semi-trailers. This also extends to qualified blood collector vehicles used by qualified blood collector organizations, and non-transportation mobile machinery.

If you’re an exempt carrier, you may be required to file tax forms with the IRS or notify your local DMV of the exempt status being claimed. Does your truck fit into one of the above categories? Then it's time to celebrate, because you won’t need to file heavy vehicle use tax!

Not sure about the status of your vehicle? We're here to help! You can reach us by phone at 704.234.6005 or email them for 24/7 assistance at support@expresstrucktax.com. We're here to put your mind at ease!



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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What is the New Trucker Coercion Rule?

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You’ve been driving for hours, the sun long vanished behind the horizon, and you know you’re almost out of hours. That E-Log is ticking away, after all. But your dispatcher kept pushing forward, wanting you to get the freight there a bit faster. Between your lack of time and heavy eyelids, you know that feat is impossible.

You could stop now, or press on and keep driving. While you know you need to follow the rules, the dispatcher made it clear that you’re gonna start missing out on jobs if you don’t make this delivery in less hours than you have.

This is known as driver coercion.

Now thanks to the FMCSA’s trucker coercion rule, drivers can now report dispatchers, shippers, and other workers who encourage truckers to violate federal regulations to meet deadlines. With the new rule, financial penalties for shippers who coerce drivers into breaking the laws can reach up to $16,000. Basically, instead of risking your life, income, and future, the companies will now risk the coins that line their coffers.

In the words of the FMCSA:

“[The rule] addresses three key areas concerning driver coercion: procedures for commercial truck and bus drivers to report incidents of coercion to the FMCSA, steps the agency could take when responding to such allegations, and penalties that may be imposed on entities found to have coerced drivers.”

How did this rule start? Well, some commercial drivers reported pressure from shippers to violate federal safety regulations with threats of job termination, denial of future loads, reduced pay and hours, or even decreased future job opportunities.

How were drivers being coerced? The way most drivers faced it included ignoring driver hour limits, CDL requirements, drug and alcohol testing, and hazardous material transportation rules, among others.

“Any time a motor carrier, shipper, receiver, freight-forwarder, or broker demands that a schedule be met, one that the driver says would be impossible without violating hours-of-service restrictions or other safety regulations, that is coercion,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “No commercial driver should ever feel compelled to bypass important federal safety regulations and potentially endanger the lives of all travelers on the road.”

What should you do if you’re feeling coerced to break or bend a rule? First, you need to head to the National Consumer Complaint Database and file a report. While the FMCSA says the burden of proof is on the shippers, the truckers still have to provide evidence needed to sustain the fees against the violators. This means, make sure you have documentation of any incident you report, as the FMCSA will have to investigate these claims.

How does this affect you as a driver? Well, you know your limits and boundaries better than anyone else. Even if you disagree with these rules, your best call is to follow the new coercion rules, and to be upfront with the dispatchers and loaders.

Wait, still confused? Basically, the agency will now issue fines to companies who coerce drivers to break and bend laws to make deadlines.

While we can’t help you with pushy dispatchers, we can help you when it comes to filing your HVUT 2290s. If you have any questions, send us an email at support@expresstrucktax.com or give us a call at 704.234.6005.

What do you think about the new driver coercion rule?


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Thursday, February 18, 2016

2290 Amendment Form: Fix Your Filing

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In the year 1919, Washington politicians decided the United States had enough to drink and passed the Eighteenth Amendment—also known as Prohibition. About 13 years later, the US Congress saw the failure of Prohibition, and repealed it in its entirety with the Twenty-First Amendment. Hey, we all make mistakes!





These days, it seems like everybody has something to say about amendments. While we know you have opinions about who can bear arms, let’s stay focused here, Trucking Nation.






Jokes aside, there’s a chance you might make a mistake when you file your heavy vehicle use taxes this year. For this reason alone, you can file a Form 2290 Amendment with ExpressTruckTax. What are these amendments for? They are for increased taxable gross weight, exceeded mileage for suspended vehicles, and vehicle identification number corrections.

Increased Taxable Gross Weight

If the maximum load your truck customarily carried increased, the taxable gross weight probably changed. When this happens, you need to calculate and report the additional tax for the remainder of the period on Form 2290. When filing, you just choose the Amended Return option, and document the month or date the taxable gross weight increased. This should occur on the last day of the month following the month in which the taxable gross weight increased.

Suspended Vehicles Mileage Exceeded

When a suspended vehicle exceeds the mileage use limit, you need to file this amendment. The mileage use limit applies to the total mileage a vehicle is on the road during a period, regardless of the number of owners. Mileage use limit for a heavy vehicle on public highways is 5,000 miles or less (7,500 miles or less for agricultural vehicles).

Vehicle Identification Number Correction

If you filed a 2290 and somehow entered an incorrect VIN, you can file a VIN Correction Amendment to fix it. Now, VIN Corrections can only be filed for taxable or suspended vehicles and not for credit vehicles or for prior year suspended vehicles. When you file a VIN Correction, you must have already paid for the taxes due on the original Form 2290, or the IRS will assign penalties in addition to the actual tax. The good news is, VIN corrections are free if you filed your original 2290 with ExpressTruckTax!

With ExpressTruckTax, we make it easy to file Form 2290 Amendments. Not only do we make it easy, but you will also get your Schedule 1 for the new weight category in minutes!

While you may not need a 2290 Amendment, we’re here to answer any questions about 2290 filing you come across. Reach our dedicated, bilingual customer support team by phone at 704.234.6005, live chat, or by email.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

New EIN for Your New LLC

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A few weeks ago the East Coast was blanketed in a thick layer of snow. In the middle of this snowmageddon, the IRS got behind on their e-filing. When you combine bad weather, hardware failure, and the subsequent maintenance, it’s no wonder the IRS clogged up on issuing Employer Identification Numbers!

Now we know this is just frustrating, but who ever thought the government could be behind on something? Not me, no way. Hmm, never heard of that! We know this is an inconvenience – I mean, maybe you had trouble getting your EIN and then had trouble e-filing your 2290s. Or maybe you went out of your way to turn your trucking business into a LLC, only to find out about the EIN delay.

New Business, New EIN

While nobody wants to face a lawsuit, the best thing you can do for your growing transportation business is prepare a plan for facing legal issues. Well, one potential path for owner-operators to take is becoming a Limited Liability Company (LLC). By becoming a LLC, your trucking business has the option to become a separate entity with its own Tax Identification Number and bank account, and it can’t be named in a personal lawsuit against you.

After you transition to a LLC, you may end up with a new EIN! After obtaining a new EIN, you’ll have to file a new 2290 with your new number, and use your old number to claim a HVUT credit.

Why Should You Become an LLC?

Do you have one truck? Two trucks? A red truck and a blue truck? Ah, you get what I mean. You can file to become an LLC regardless of how many trucks you have. Should you separate your business from your self, though? That’s honestly up to you, and you need to weigh the pros and cons. First up, you’ll protect your personal assets in case of a lawsuit. What’s the trade-off? How you file your taxes will change, and how you account for finances will have to change, too! Keep that in mind as you head down this road.

How Do You Know If You Need a New EIN?

Well, not every new LLC needs a new EIN. But a lot do! If you’re wondering how you know you’ll need a new number, the IRS says you will need a new EIN if any of the following statements are true:

  • You are a new LLC with more than one owner (Multi-member LLC) formed under state law.
  • You are a new LLC with one owner (Single Member LLC) formed under state law and choose to be taxed as a corporation or an S corporation.
  • You are a new LLC with one owner (Single Member LLC) formed under state law, and have an excise tax filing requirement for tax periods beginning on or after January 1, 2008, or an employment tax filing requirement for wages paid on or after January 1, 2009.

Like we said before, we can’t tell you to become an LLC. But many owner-operators take this path for the added business protections and benefits. After all, you want to protect your livelihood! Have you turned your trucking business into an LLC? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

After you’ve received the EIN for your new LLC, be sure to file your 2290s with ExpressTruckTax! If you have any questions, give us a call at 704.234.6005, reach us on live chat, or shoot us an email!


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Monday, February 15, 2016

The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

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Sleep is important. Yeah, you’ve heard it a billion times before. And from a safety standpoint, it’s a matter of life and death. Wait, what? Well, if you’re an OTR trucker, a decrease in sleep can lead to an increase in fatal trucking accidents. Add that to the health issues, and you have the perfect storm to bring a trucker down.

Does it take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep? Do you wake several times during long sleep periods? Do you take frequent naps? Are you always tired? You probably have a sleep disorder. Now, you might think you’re indestructible, but let’s talk about how this affects you and what you can do.

18 Wheels of Safety

There are plenty of reasons why auto accidents happen – but we’re here to focus on sleep deprivation as a factor. Drowsy driving increases accidents and near misses for any driver on the road. The difference between you and a four-wheeler is you’re an 80,000 pound missile on wheels when you lose control. When you’re drowsy, your reaction time is slowed down, and you will rationalize bad decisions that endanger you and other truckers.

Most accidents occur during the hours of midnight to 2 a.m., 4 a.m. to 6 a.m., and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. How does this impact trucking? Well, this factor is huge for commercial drivers – especially long-haul drivers – because at least 15% of all heavy truck crashes involve driver fatigue.

Health on the Highway

We’ve talked about health and fitness many times, but sleep is just as important. When you lose sleep, your body’s defenses are weakened. This increases your risk for infections, high blood pressure, and diabetes. When you’re sleep deprived, your appetite increases, leading to overeating and obesity.

What’s the Best Way to Sleep?

How you approach sleep matters, so take extra precautions for your health. Use curtains, truck shades, or an eye mask to block out light. Cover noise with a fan or a white noise machine. Make sure your cab or bedroom is a comfortable, cool temperature. And make sure you have a comfy mattress, pillow, and bedding. Make sure you’re parked in a quiet, but safe area.

While you might be tempted to hydrate before bed, avoiding liquids will keep you from having to get up in the middle of the night. Keep your distance from stimulants like caffeine and nicotine. Avoid heavy and spicy foods, and stop eating 2-3 hours before bed. Don’t forget, exposure to blue light from electronics will trick your brain into thinking you’re awake.

What Should I Do Now?

Well, if you notice any of the symptoms of sleep apnea or insomnia, contact a doctor. Make sure you’re firm with family, friends, and dispatchers about your sleep issues, when you’ll be sleeping, and that you want to avoid interruptions.

Your health and safety are vital to your job, so don’t let sleep deprivation get the best of you! You have enough to worry about with wintery roads, 2290s, and IFTA deadlines! And If you need any help on your truck tax filings, contact us by phone or email.

How do you prepare for sleep when you’re on the road? Let us know in the comments and on Facebook!


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Friday, February 12, 2016

Love on the Long Haul

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There’s a special bond between a driver and their rig – one which takes constant maintenance and consideration. It’s almost like a long term relationship for some OTR drivers out there! But don’t worry, Trucking Nation, we’re not here to judge.

But let’s examine the other relationship in your life. Whether it’s a spouse or a long time partner, having someone back home can make the road warrior life a lot easier. But it can also complicate things. Constant absence can be hard on a relationship and a family. What’s a trucker to do?

How can you make your relationship work?

Communication is the Key

In order to have a successful relationship, it takes constant work. But it doesn’t have to be exhausting. With the level of technology we have today, communicating with your significant other is pretty easy. You still need to follow the rules of the road, but being able to call and text your spouse lets them know they’re on your mind. And similar to watching your favorite movies on the road, a good WiFi setup can help you feel close by letting you video chat with someone back home.

Set Goals for the Future

Why do you haul? If you’ve stuck around with it for a while, you know you can make a solid living from it. But what are you building towards? A great way to keep your relationship moving is to set goals with your better half for the future. That can be anything from saving up for the house you’ve always wanted, to starting a college fund for your young ones, or even for a once in a lifetime dream vacation. Goals will also make you feel accomplished and appreciate each other.

Hit the Road Together

Now, we know this option isn’t for every couple out there – but team driving does work for some. You’ll hear some drivers praise spouse team driving, and some hate it more than they hate dispatchers. So what are some of the benefits? Well, first off, you drive together and make more money as a team. Also, you won’t be as lonely with your partner with you. And finally, sharing a cab with a romantic partner instead of a business partner erases some issues normal team drivers face.

But you can also find yourself with less time, if one of you sleeps while the other drives. And you have to make sure both of you love driving and spending time together, or else you could end up resenting each other. This option isn’t for every couple, and we understand that, but it is still something to consider!

Take Care of Yourself

When you’re happy and healthy, you’ll find this reflected in your relationships. I mean, there’s nothing better than being on home time and spending quality time with your loved one. So

stay healthy by creating a fitness routine, eating healthy, managing your stress, and taking care of your body!

Fallen in Love with a New Truck?

Okay, so maybe you’re happy being single and just watching out for yourself. That’s fine! And hey, if you just got a new truck and THAT’S the love of your life, you need to take care of your heavy vehicle use tax, then! But you already paid your HVUT? Remember this, when you buy a rig from another owner who already paid their HVUT fees, you're covered until after the month of sale. From the first day of the following month, it’s up to you, the new owner, to pay the HVUT 2290 from the first day of that month to the end of the tax year.

Basically, the seller gets credited for the taxes they paid before they sold you the vehicle, and then you owe the difference. And if you have questions about filing that 2290, call us at 704.234.6005, email us, or hit us up with a live chat from our website!



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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bulk Uploading: HVUT for Fleets

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Just a quick update for our fleet managers out there! When you need to file HVUT for a fleet of vehicles, take advantage of our easy-to-use bulk upload feature.










Start by filling out First Used Month & Year, and then select Bulk Upload Using a File when you’re on the Taxable Vehicles tab.






The nice thing is, we provide an Excel template you can use to upload your data to our sites. Select Express Upload to continue.



Just follow these three steps! Download the template by following the “clicking here” link, fill out the saved file, and then upload the completed spreadsheet!




The excel template is easy to navigate, and has clear labels and drop down menus with itemized selections for your filing convenience.




If you make a filing error, our system will let you know! Click “View Upload Errors” to examine the errors. Once your errors are identified, simply fix the flawed entries in your downloaded spreadsheet and then re-upload the file by clicking “Bulk Upload using a File” again.




After that, you can view, file, and pay your HVUT taxes all at once! You have to admit, that’s way easier than doing each vehicle one-by-one.





While we think bulk uploading is easier, you may still run into a question we can answer for you. We’ll always be ready to help you by phone or email. Give us a call at 704.234.6005 if you need assistance!


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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Watch the Big Game Online

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Picture this – after setting off from the Carolinas, having passed through Denver before reaching your destination in San Diego, you probably have a lot on your mind. Like if you’re gonna become Super Bowl Champions on Sunday. Wait, what? Okay, if the Carolina Panthers were truckers, that’d be their thoughts this week.

Whatever your route, you’re probably going to want to watch the big game. But what do you do when you’re a road warrior in the middle of a haul?


How Can I Watch Online?

Thanks to the inventors of the internet, you can pretty much watch TV anywhere these days. And even better, CBS Sports will be streaming the Super Bowl free on Sunday. If you have a good wireless data plan, or you can get to a truck stop with free WiFi, then you’ll be able to watch on your tablet, phone, or even your laptop. Now if you’re more old school and don’t keep any of those streaming data devices handy, you can try finding a good sports bar that will play the game.

Of course, if you’re home on some downtime, catch it on CBS Sports, Xbox One, Apple TV, Chromecast, or even Roku.

I'm Driving but Want to Listen, What Can I Do?

Well, we know a lot of truckers have satellite radio. If you do, Westwood One Sports will be broadcasting the game live on Sunday. But there are other options out there, as well. Without satellite radio, you can listen to the game on local radio stations that carry CBS Sports broadcasts.

What If I Don't Want to Watch?

Then don’t watch it! But honestly, there will always be something else you can check out. I mean, if you’re a dog lover, give the puppy bowl a shot. Or it might be time to catch up on some movies you’ve missed out on. Of course, there are plenty of entertainment options for truckers on the long haul.

We normally advocate for healthy eating around these parts, but come on, we know you’re gonna eat some hearty football food. Pizza? Wings? Might as well! Just try to avoid falling into a food coma if you’re still driving. And stay safe out there, there will be an increase in drunk driving fans in four-wheelers on the road that night.

And if you’re rooting for the Broncos, don’t get mad at us for our Panthers shout out. With our customer support located in Rock Hill, SC, we’re just showing a little Panther Pride.

If you have any questions about filing your HVUT 2290s, shoot us an email or call us at 704.234.6005. Who are you rooting for? How do you watch the game? Let us know in the comments!


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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Driving Through the Decades: 6 Weird Concept Trucks

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Let’s face it, Trucking Nation, we all have something weird in our past! Maybe you went through a disco phase, or you rocked a mullet for a while. Heck, I had an afro myself at one point. But do you ever wonder what kind of weird trends the trucking industry has hidden in its past?


Over the decades, designers have tried to improve the art of trucking with extravagant designs aimed towards bringing trucking into the future. While rigs have gotten more efficient over the years, we’re not in the space age future these designers predicted!


Take a look at these weird-looking concept trucks from transportation’s past (and maybe the future)!





1964 GM Bison Concept Truck

With a turbine-based design, this freight hauler debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair (the same event where Ford debuted the Mustang). While this vehicle fell into obscurity, the Bison pioneered automation with an electronic system for loading and unloading standardized cargo containers. While the Bison never took off, another turbine-based engine did work its way into a different concept.

(photo courtesy of Hemmings Daily)

Chevrolet Turbo Titan III Concept Truck

Chevrolet designed the Turbo Titan III with a turbine engine, when gas was cheap and government regulation was light. Styled as the future of the transport industry, this truck had swing-up windows, three lens headlights, and a twin dial steering system. By the time the 70s rolled around, the costs and emissions were too high for this truck to take off.

(photo courtesy of Truck Trend Network)


Steinwinter Supercargo 2040 Cab Under Concept

Designed to reduce aerodynamic drag and wind resistance, this strange looking rig resembles a skate more than a truck. Even though it had Recaro seats and less blind spots, handling issues plagued the vehicle and it proved unpopular with drivers.

(photo courtesy of franestan613 via Imgur)



Mercedes Benz EXT 92 Concept Truck

At the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1992, Mercedes Benz premiered the EXT-92. Utilizing technologies from all transportation sectors, this concept truck had the drag of a car and enough features packed in to create quite a stir – like a fax and telephone system, kitchen with a microwave, and even a built-in coffee maker.

(photo courtesy of TrucksPlanet)


Colani Spitzer Silo Concept Truck

You know when legendary Swiss-German designer Luigi Colani gets involved, the results are going to be eye-popping at least. Conceptualized during the 70s fuel crisis, this rig made a resurgence after the recent global fuel troubles.

(photo courtesy of Dark Roasted Blend



Walmart's WAVE Concept

Designed by Walmart with Peterbilt, Great Dane Trailers, and Capstone Turbine, the WAVE stands for Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience. This rig uses a turbine-powered hybrid drivetrain, and has a combustion engine that can run on diesel, natural gas, and biodiesel fuel. And while it’s not on the road yet, the WAVE allows designers to test new technologies and approaches.

(photo courtesy of Wired)



While you aren’t hauling freight in the Bison or a Colani truck, your rig still needs to keep up with HVUT fees this year. If you have any questions about filing your 2290s, feel free to contact us by phone at 704.234.6005, by email at support@expresstrucktax.com, or with the live chat support from our website.

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E-file your HVUT Form 2290 with ExpressTruckTax.