Truck, trailer groups mobilize to nix federal excise tax

Sources: National Trailer Dealers Association, Brighton, Mich.; CP staff

“Modern, Clean, and Safe Trucks Act of 2019,” H.R. 2381, through which U.S. Representatives Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) propose repeal of the 12 percent federal excise tax on heavy-duty trucks, truck bodies, and semi-trailers has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration. 

The FET increases the cost of trucks and trailers by several thousands of dollars, H.R. 2381 proponents contend, in turn discouraging the sale of newer, safer, greener trucks and trailers, and putting a damper on American manufacturing employment. Originally created to help pay for World War I, the FET is the largest such tax levied by Congress and presently shores up the Highway Trust Fund.

“The Federal Excise Tax has long been an unfair method of taxing the truck and trailer industry,” says National Trailer Dealers Association (NTDA) President Gwendolyn Brown. “The NTDA supports legislation that encourages the sale of newer trailers and that more fairly supports the construction and maintenance of our highways and roads.”

In addition to own efforts, NTDA is also a member of the Modernize the Truck Fleet (MTF) coalition, launched in January and comprising a broad range of trucking and trailer businesses, including the American Truck Dealers; National Tank Truck Carriers; NTEA —The Association for the Work Industry; Truck Renting and Leasing Association; and, Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association. The coalition is committed to repealing FET and identifying an acceptable replacement to sustain the Highway Trust Fund.