Press Release

Repeal Heavy-Duty Excise Tax and Get Cleaner Trucks on Our Roads, Transportation Groups Urge Congress

Feb 22, 2023

World War I era tax adds as much as $50,000 to the cost of a new zero-emission vehicle

Washington — Today a group of transportation and trucking stakeholders is calling on Congress to repeal the Federal Excise Tax (FET) on heavy-duty commercial vehicles. This century-old tax is impeding the deployment of cleaner, more environmentally friendly trucks on our nation's roads, according to a letter from the American Trucking Associations, American Truck Dealers, and Zero Emission Transportation Association sent to Congressional leadership.

Repeal the FET

The heavy-duty excise tax was established in 1917 to defray the costs of World War I and today adds 12% to the cost of a new truck, creating a major disincentive for trucking fleets small and large to modernize their equipment and replace older tractors with new, low-emission power units. The FET can add more than $50,000 to the price of the latest low- or zero-emission vehicle, making these investments cost-prohibitive for smaller fleets. Over 90% of U.S. motor carriers operate six or fewer trucks.

“If Congress is serious about safety, the environment and jobs, then repealing the FET should be front-burner," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "It’s time to shelve this World War I era tax and starting putting the best equipment on our roads.”

“The federal government wants heavy-duty trucks to be cleaner or emission free, but slaps a 12 percent tax on the newest, greenest trucks. If the goal is to reduce emissions, repealing the counterproductive FET is a good place to start,” said Scott McCandless, ATD Chairman and President of McCandless Truck Center LLC of Aurora, Colo.

"The federal excise tax harms American truckers and fleet operators by inflating the cost of heavy-duty trucks and limiting access to the many economic and public health benefits that come with transportation electrification," said Albert Gore, executive director at ZETA. "Medium and heavy-duty trucks account for 24% of all transportation carbon emissions in the United States but represent only 4% of vehicles on the road. It is time to accelerate our movement towards modernized transportation fleets, and we must enable our nation's fleet operators and truckers to join in this effort." 

In the 117th Congress, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Representatives Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) and Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) introduced the Modern, Clean, and Safe Trucks Act (H.R. 8116/S. 2435), bipartisan and bicameral legislation to repeal the tax.

Repeal the Federal Excise Tax by ATA Media on Scribd


American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight. 

The American Truck Dealers (ATD), founded in 1970, is a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and represents more than 1,800 franchised medium- and heavy-duty truck dealers holding nearly 3,000 separate franchises, domestic and import. Franchised truck dealers are directly responsible for more than 144,000 U.S. jobs. 

The Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA) is a federal coalition focused on advocating for 100% EV sales by 2030. ZETA is committed to enacting policies that drive EV adoption, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, secure American global EV manufacturing leadership, drastically improve public health, and significantly reduce carbon pollution.