Bipartisan bill would help modernize nation’s truck fleet by repealing 12% excise tax on new tractor-trailers
Arlington, Virginia -- Today, the American Trucking Associations praised the introduction of the Modern, Clean, and Safe Trucks Act of 2021 by Senators Todd Young (R-Indiana) and Ben Cardin (D-Maryland). The bipartisan legislation would repeal the 12% federal excise tax on heavy-duty trucks, which currently adds approximately $22,000 to the cost of a new tractor-trailer.
“The federal excise tax on heavy trucks is a relic from the First World War that’s now serving to keep cleaner, safer trucks off of our nation’s roads today,” said Chris Spear, president and CEO of American Trucking Associations. “By repealing this antiquated tax, Congress can deliver a win for the environment, highway safety, manufacturing jobs and supply-chain efficiency. We thank Senators Young and Cardin for their bipartisan leadership in advancing a common-sense solution to the benefit of American truckers and the motoring public.”
Although technological advances have made the latest tractor-trailers cleaner and safer than ever before, the FET creates a disincentive for motor carriers to modernize their fleets by placing a punitive surcharge on investments in new equipment. As a result, the average age of a truck on the road today is nearly ten years old.
Over the past two decades, cleaner fuel and engines used in new trucks have combined to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 97% and particulate matter emissions by 98%. Since 2010, more fuel-efficient diesel trucks have saved 101 million barrels of crude oil and reduced CO2 emissions by 43 million tons. Life-saving, driver-assist safety technologies that weren’t widely available or effective a decade ago, such as automatic emergency braking, forward collision mitigation and electronic stability technology, are now offered in new models.
The FET was enacted by Congress in 1917 at three percent to raise revenue for World War 1. Today it stands at 12%–making it the highest excise tax the federal government levies on any good across the entire economy. The bill calls on Congress to find more reliable and consistent revenue streams to sustain the Highway Trust Fund.
“Funding our national infrastructure need not come at the expense of highway safety or environmental health. Our industry will continue to advocate for equitable and sustainable user fees that align the goals of safer roads, cleaner air and a growing economy," said Spear.
A 2020 survey by American Trucking Associations found 60% of fleets would be either somewhat likely or very likely to buy additional trucks and trailers beyond currently scheduled purchase if the FET were repealed.