Photo: David Cullen

Photo: David Cullen

A new effort to ax the 12% federal excise tax on most heavy-duty trucks, tractors, and trailers has been mounted on Capitol Hill by Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA). He introduced the Heavy Truck, Tractor and Trailer Retail Federal Excise Tax Repeal Act of 2017 (H.R. 2946) on June 20, a bill that would repeal the FET on the retail sale of trucking equipment.

“The excessive 12% federal excise tax on heavy trucks adds tens of thousands of dollars to truck purchases and directly impacts the cost of food, consumer goods and other products Americans need,” Rep. LaMalfa said in a statement. “Even worse, truck owners large and small pay this tax whether a truck is driven 100,000 miles or never driven at all, forcing them to pay taxes on an investment that may not be generating any revenue.

“Repealing the truck tax will help small businesses invest in new equipment while jump-starting domestic manufacturing.” He added that removing the truck FET should be considered by the House Ways and Means Committee when it drafts legislation to reform the overall tax code.

The FET was originally imposed in 1917 to help defray the cost of World War I. The tax has grown from 3%, when it was incorporated into the Highway Trust Fund in 1955, to 12% now.

The American Truck Dealers, a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, applauded LaMalfa’s bill.

“The 12% federal excise tax on heavy-duty trucks is the highest percentage rate of any federal excise tax that Congress levies, and it adds $12,000 to $22,000 to the price of a new heavy-duty truck,” said ATD Chairman Steve Parker, who is president of Maryland-based Baltimore Potomac Truck Centers. “The FET depresses new heavy-duty truck sales and delays the deployment of cleaner, safer and more fuel-efficient trucks.”

Parker also called the FET “essentially a tax on American jobs,” stating that the tax “hurts truck sales and inhibits job growth, directly affecting the 7.3 million Americans employed in the U.S. trucking industry. Congress should include H.R. 2946 in the upcoming tax reform bill. A repeal of the FET will spur new-truck sales and get our economy moving.”

About the author
David Cullen

David Cullen

[Former] Business/Washington Contributing Editor

David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

View Bio