A coalition of commercial truck dealers, trade association executives and other trucking industry stakeholders rallied on Capitol Hill on June 19, to urge congressional support for legislation repealing the federal excise tax, a 12% tax on the sale of heavy-duty trucks and trailers.
The groups were part of Modernize the Truck Fleet coalition, created in January of this year, which has been pushing for the FET repeal, calling the tax an unnecessary relic of early 20th century America.
“The FET was first enacted to help pay for World War I,” said Jodie Teuton, chairwoman of the American Truck Dealers. “This tax may have made sense in 1917, but today the FET delays heavy-duty truck fleet turnover by adding more than $20,000 to the average price of a new truck.”
In addition to raising truck prices, the FET repeal supporters contend that it is a barrier for small business looking to upgrade outdates trucks to safer and cleaner modern vehicles.
The specific bill the coalition is supporting is H.R. 2381 which was introduced with bipartisan support by Representatives Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Collin Peterson (D-MN).
“The average age of most heavy-duty trucks on the road today is nearly 10 years old – that means a decade worth of technological advancements is effectively being sidelined,” said Rep. LaMalfa. “The 12% FET limits truck replacement by discouraging truck owners from upgrading their outdated vehicles – leading to higher emissions and more dangerous roads. We won’t truly see a modern truck fleet in the U.S. until it’s repealed.”
Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum which is not a member of Modernize the Fleet, also commented on the FET Repeal bill saying that it represented a great opportunity to accelerate the equipment turnover of existing fleets from old technology to new. Schaeffer stated that new diesel engines were not only cleaner but more fuel efficient and said that the benefits to air quality, fuel usage or safety won’t be realized as long as new trucks are sitting on dealer lots.
“With an infrastructure bill as likely to pass as any piece of legislation this Congress, this is the time to put all of our combined energy into finding a way to replace the onerous FET,” said Jake Jacoby, TRALA president and CEO. “We are excited to be a part of such a collaborative effort working with truck companies, manufacturers, dealers and end users who all want to put the cleanest, most technologically advanced trucks onto our highways immediately.”