On March 8, Reps. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) and Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) reintroduced the “Modern, Clean, and Safe Trucks Act of 2023,” (H.R. 1440) a bill that would repeal the Federal Excise Tax (FET) on heavy-duty trucks. Rep. LaMalfa delivered remarks the next day on the House floor to advocate for his legislation and explained why the FET is a barrier to transitioning to a newer, cleaner truck fleet. The FET is a 12% excise tax on the sale of most new heavy-duty trucks, and it is the highest percentage excise tax Congress levies on a product.
The FET was first instituted more than a century ago to pay for World War I for the wartime mobilization and has since outlived its original purpose, explained LaMalfa.
“It disincentives truckers and trucking companies from purchasing new, up-to-date rigs because the tax can add as much from $20,000 to even $30,000 on a high-end rig by itself – just for the tax,” LaMalfa said. “This burdensome tax hinders the ability of our truck drivers to acquire the most modern, safest, and highest-tech equipment.”
Ever-increasing federal and state emission regulations, like those in LaMalfa’s home state of California, often make it necessary for truckers to buy new trucks. The FET creates a significant cost barrier to many operators and slows the transition to cleaner, safer trucks.
“Repealing this tax would make it easier to ship goods across the country at lower prices for consumers, saving businesses and consumers money,” LaMalfa said. “It would also allow the trucking fleet to modernize at a lower cost. At a time when our economy is reeling from inflation and high prices, Congress should do what it can to lower costs for small business and consumers.”