New bill to repeal FET introduced to U.S. House of Representatives

Updated May 2, 2019

The battle to eradicate trucking’s federal excise tax returned to Capitol Hill this week as Reps. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) introduced H.R. 2381, the “Modern, Clean and Safe Trucks Act of 2019,” a bill to repeal the FET on most new heavy-duty trucks and trailers.

LaMalfa also introduced a similar bill, H.R. 2946 in 2017. His actions with Peterson were praised by the Modernize the Truck Fleet (MTF) coalition, a multi-association coalition representing most of the trucking industry that is seeking to repeal and replace FET.

“The FET discourages truck buyers from purchasing the newest, safest and cleanest trucks and trailers available,” says Jodie Teuton, chairwoman of the American Truck Dealers (ATD) and MTF steering committee member. “This tax is as outdated as biplanes and trench warfare.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.”

Says LaMalfa, “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 percent to 12 percent 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 It’s an outdated and unnecessary barrier that discourages truck buyers from upgrading to more modern, cleaner and safer vehicles.

“It’s 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 The FET limits truck replacement, the associated economic growth, and needs to be repealed.”

“The federal excise tax is an outdated burden to small businesses looking to invest in our transportation industry.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,” adds Congressman Peterson.

The MTF coalition says it is committed to repealing the outdated and burdensome FET and identifying an acceptable replacement to sustain the Highway Trust Fund. H.R. 2381 has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration. MTF is strongly urging Congress to include H.R. 2381 in an infrastructure modernization bill, as they advance broader legislation.

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