A bipartisan group of U.S. House members have introduced a bill seeking to stop any increase of the excise tax on new heavy-duty trucks, an effort that has been applauded by truck dealers.

The existing 12% levy on heavy-duty trucks is already "the highest excise tax imposed by Congress on a percentage basis," said Eric Jorgensen, chairman of the American Truck Dealers (ATD).

Reps. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.) jointly reintroduced a resolution (H. Con. Res. 33) that garnered support from 17 bipartisan co-sponsors.

"An increase in the FET would depress new heavy-duty truck sales, and would also delay the deployment of cleaner, safer, and more fuel efficient trucks," according to a statement released by ATD.

"I have long believed that the federal excise tax deters business owners from purchasing safe, more fuel-efficient and environmentally sound trucks that are critical to moving goods on the road," said Rep. Ribble. "The federal excise tax damages truck manufacturing and its related jobs by raising the costs of new safer trucks."

The FET on heavy-duty trucks was originally imposed to help defray the cost of World War I. Since 1955, the excise tax rate on most new heavy-duty trucks, tractors and trailers has increased by 300 percent and has ballooned from 3 percent when it was initially incorporated into the Highway Trust Fund to its current rate of 12 percent, according to ATD.