Legislation would repeal 12% excise tax on heavy-duty trucks, trailers

Updated Mar 13, 2023
Long line of white trucks
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

Legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to repeal the excise tax on the purchase of heavy-duty trucks.

Senators Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Todd Young (R-Indiana) Wednesday, March 8 introduced the Modern, Clean, and Safe Trucks Act of 2023. A companion bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R – California) and Rep. Chris Pappas (D – New Hampshire).

The legislation would repeal the 12% tax on new heavy trucks, trailers, semitrailer chassis, and tractors for highway use. It is estimated the tax adds between $15,000 and $30,000 to the purchase of new equipment.

The Senate previously attempted to repeal the tax in 1975, but the House failed to include it in its version of a broad tax bill. It was last increased in 1982 to 12%, and although it was set to expire in 1987 it was extended in 1987, 1991, 1998, 2005, 2012, and 2015.

The American Trucking Associations praised the legislators for their efforts to repeal what the organization calls "the antiquated federal excise tax" on the purchase of new trucks.

“The federal excise tax on purchases of trucks adds nearly $25,000 to the cost of new equipment – slowing deployment of safer and more environmentally friendly vehicles,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “This more than 100-year-old tax – first instituted to support American troops during the First World War, has far outlived its usefulness and now acts as an impediment to creating jobs, reducing emissions, and improving highway safety.”

Spear urged Congress to pass this legislation, which he said is an important step that will lead to both safer highways and decreased emissions."

“Nearly half of America’s trucking fleet is over 10 years old,” said Scott McCandless, president of McCandless Truck Center LLC of Aurora, Colorado. “Repealing the FET will be a giant step toward achieving our national goal of turning over America’s aging truck fleet.”