Groups call on Congress to repeal excise tax on heavy-duty trucks

Updated Feb 24, 2023
Front of a heavy-duty truck

Several trucking and transportation groups today called on Congress to repeal the federal excise tax on heavy-duty trucks. They contend the tax keeps cleaner, more energy-efficient trucks off the road by adding thousands of dollars to the purchase price.

In a letter to congressional leaders, the American Trucking Associations, American Truck Dealers, and Zero Emission Transportation Association said the century-old tax is impeding the deployment of cleaner, more environmentally friendly trucks.

The tax was established in 1917 to defray the costs of World War I and today adds 12% to the cost of a new truck, creating a major disincentive for trucking fleets small and large to modernize their equipment and replace older tractors with new, low-emission power units, according to the three groups.

The FET can add more than $50,000 to the price of the latest low- or zero-emission vehicle, making these investments cost-prohibitive for smaller fleets. Over 90% of U.S. motor carriers operate six or fewer trucks, according to a statement from the organizations.

“If Congress is serious about safety, the environment, and jobs, then repealing the FET should be front-burner," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "It’s time to shelve this World War I era tax and starting putting the best equipment on our roads.”

“The federal government wants heavy-duty trucks to be cleaner or emission-free but slaps a 12% tax on the newest, greenest trucks. If the goal is to reduce emissions, repealing the counterproductive FET is a good place to start,” said Scott McCandless, ATD Chairman and President of McCandless Truck Center LLC of Aurora, Colorado.

"The federal excise tax harms American truckers and fleet operators by inflating the cost of heavy-duty trucks and limiting access to the many economic and public health benefits that come with transportation electrification," said Albert Gore, executive director at ZETA. "Medium and heavy-duty trucks account for 24% of all transportation carbon emissions in the United States but represent only 4% of vehicles on the road. It is time to accelerate our movement towards modernized transportation fleets, and we must enable our nation's fleet operators and truckers to join in this effort." 

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers
The ALL NEW Rand Tablet
Presented by Rand McNally
BlueParrott B350-XT
Presented by BlueParrott

In the 117th Congress, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Representatives Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) and Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) introduced the Modern, Clean, and Safe Trucks Act (H.R. 8116/S. 2435), bipartisan and bicameral legislation to repeal the tax.