Could Suspending The Federal Excise Tax On New Trucks Promote Safer Highways?

Suspension of the Federal Excise Tax (FET) could help the trucking industry tremendously through this COVID-19 recession. According to FleetOwner, in late July, Representative Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) sent a letter to the Democratic leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives calling for the suspension of the 12% FET on heavy-duty trucks and trailers to be included in the next coronavirus stimulus bill. Pappas wants the tax which can add $20,000 to a new truck’s cost off the books through 2021.

Currently, over half of the trucks on the highways are over ten years old which means the latest safety features more than likely aren’t capable of being integrated with them. By adding newer trucks to the roads, highways can become much safer because of the latest safety options that are included with brand new trucks.

According to an American Truck Associations (ATA) survey, 60% of fleets were more likely or very likely to purchase new trucks and trailers if the FET was suspended for the remainder of this year. Not only would suspending the FET bring safer trucks to the highways, it would also get the manufacturers back to work again. Rep. Chris Pappas letter also stated that, “Suspension of the 12% FET on new heavy-duty trucks and trailers during this critical time could help fleets purchase new trucks and trailers, support U.S. truck and trailer manufacturing, supplier, and dealership jobs, and advance our goals of improving highway safety and reducing emissions.”

Ultimately, the request was denied by the Senate Republicans’ latest coronavirus package in late July. The package did not consist of an FET suspension in the $1 trillion economic stimulus bill that extended unemployment benefits, liability reform and small business relief.

“The Class 8 truck and trailer manufacturing industry supports 1.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 million Americans work in trucking-related jobs.” However, there is still time for the FET to be suspended in the next COVID-19 relief bill by simply contacting your U.S. Senators.

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