With just a single online application, users of a new EPA SmartWay web site can apply to multiple lenders for loans to buy SmartWay-certified tractors and trailers, as well as SmartWay-approved equipment such as idle reduction systems. The new site (www.smartwayfinancecenter.com) offers access to a pool of private lenders with the capability of writing loans for as little as $2,000 or as much as $50 million, according to EPA SmartWay.

Although the loans are not federally guaranteed, borrowers may benefit by having a network of 300 lenders compete for loans, according to SmartWay's Paul Bubbosh. It takes about 10 minutes to fill out the free online application, and borrowers can decide which lenders get to see their data, he said during a press conference at the Mid-America Trucking Show. A toll-free telephone number (877-767-8875) has also been set up for anyone without web access.

Loan proceeds can be used to purchase cleaner, more fuel-efficient tractors and trailers with specifications such as EPA '07 engines, low-rolling-resistance tires and aerodynamic treatment. Loans obtained through the web site can also be used to purchase other equipment certified by EPA as cleaner and/or more fuel-efficient, including tires, aerodynamic devices, auxiliary power units and automated tire inflation systems.

SmartWay is a joint government/industry program set up by the U.S. EPA.