LaMalfa, Peterson Introduce Bill to Repeal Federal Excise Tax on Heavy-Duty Trucks

Apr 30, 2019
Press Release
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) issued the following statement after introducing H.R. 2381, the Modern, Clean, and Safe Trucks Act of 2019. This bill repeals the federal excise tax (FET) on heavy trucks that was created in 1917 to help pay for World War I. When it was introduced, the FET was 3%, but has increased to 12% today. The revenue generated through the FET tax goes into the Highway Trust Fund but is unreliable since truck sales are inconsistent year-to-year.
LaMalfa said: “When the FET was introduced over 100 years ago, it was to help pay the costs of fighting World War I. Today, it has quadrupled from 3% to 12% and the Ottoman Empire is no longer around. It’s an outdated and unnecessary barrier that discourages truck buyers from upgrading to more modern, cleaner, and safer vehicles. The FET is also the highest percentage-based tax that Congress imposes on any product, and it’s not even a reliable source of funding for the Highway Trust Fund. Most heavy-duty truck owners can’t afford a $20,000 tax bill per new truck, so they don’t buy them. They’re far more likely to purchase used or older trucks with older technology that are not as fuel-efficient or don’t achieve the air quality goals the government demands. The FET limits truck replacement, the associated economic growth, and needs to be repealed.”
Rep. Peterson said: “The Federal Excise Tax is an outdated burden to small businesses looking to invest in our transportation industry. Repealing this tax would encourage new, and cleaner fuel-efficient vehicles on our roads.”
“The FET discourages truck buyers from purchasing the newest, safest, and cleanest trucks and trailers available,” said Jodie Teuton, Chairwoman of the American Truck Dealers (ATD) and Steering Committee member of Modernize the Truck Fleet.  “This tax is as outdated as biplanes and trench warfare.  MTF applauds the bipartisan leadership Reps. Peterson and LaMalfa have shown by introducing this bill.  MTF urges Members of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 2381 to repeal the FET, which will help turnover the truck fleet and put newer, more fuel-efficient and safer trucks on the road.”
More information on FET and heavy-duty trucking:
  • The average age of a heavy-duty truck on the road is 9.6 years old.
  • Since 2000, technologies to meet new emissions standards have reduced nitrogen oxide emissions of recently purchased heavy-duty trucks by 97%, but these regulations and fuel efficiency standards add nearly $40,000 to the price of a new truck.
  • Recent model year trucks have the latest safety features built in, including electronic stability control, which helps prevent rollovers, anti-lock brakes and enhanced braking, driver air bags, LED headlights, and marker lighting to help improve nighttime visibility.
  • On average, the FET adds between $12,000 - $22,000 to the final sale price of a new truck and delays fleet turnover of newer, cleaner, higher fuel-efficiency trucks.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.