Reps. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Colin Peterson (D-MN) have reintroduced legislation to repeal the federal excise tax (FET) on heavy-duty trucks, the Modern, Clean, and Safe Trucks Act of 2019 (H.R.2381). The FET on heavy-duty trucks was initially imposed in 1917 to help defray the cost of World War I. This tax on most new heavy-duty trucks, tractors and trailers has grown from 3 percent when it was incorporated into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) in 1955 to 12 percent today.
The revenue generated through the FET tax is considered unreliable since truck sales are inconsistent year-to-year, and the tax adds between $12,000 and $22,000 to the price of new heavy-duty trucks. The FET is the highest excise tax on a percentage basis that Congress levies on a product, and it depresses new heavy-duty truck purchases and delays the deployment of cleaner, safer, and more fuel-efficient trucks.