Truck sellers zero in once more on federal excise tax

Truck dealers, state association executives, and industry advocates have converged on Washington this week and will meet through June 22 to tackle one of the commercial truck industry’s most controversial issues. To American Truck Dealers (ATD), the group putting on the legislative “fly-in,” that means the federal excise tax on new heavy-duty commercial trucks and trailers.

ATD’s No. 1 priority is the repeal of the 12% federal excise tax (FET) on new heavy-duty commercial vehicle (CMV) and trailer purchases. ATD calls the excise tax “a complicated tax enacted over a century ago that hampers sales and hinders the introduction of cleaner trucks on America’s roads.”

“We’ve said this time and time again: The 12% FET is outdated and needs to be eliminated once and for all!” Scott McCandless, ATD’s chairman, said in a June 15 “fly-in” update ahead of the June 21-22 meeting on Capitol Hill. “This is the time for our elected officials to hear from us so they can make informed decisions about policies impacting our customers, employees, and industry.”

See also: Bipartisan bill aims to ax FET

ATD also is working on a new “Clean Trucks Plan” that aims to accelerate fleet turnover by winning repeal of the FET on heavy-duty CMVs and avoiding “excessively” stringent new regulatory mandates.

“The American Truck Dealers has always sought to promote the deployment of cleaner and greener commercial motor vehicles on our nation’s roadways,” McCandless wrote to prospective fly-in attendees in his update.

“With more than half of the Class 8 CMVs on the road today over 10 years old, replacing them with new CMVs will greatly reduce criteria air pollutants and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” he added. “Today’s advanced engines and clean fuels combine to reduce CMV criteria pollutant emissions by over 95% compared to 1998. In fact, it would take 60 of today’s new CMVs to generate the same emissions as just one CMV manufactured in 1988.”

“The clean air and fuel savings benefits of new regulatory mandates recently proposed by (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) on CMVs can only be realized if the vehicle is sold. If new CMVs aren’t affordable, they will not be purchased and won’t replace older, less-efficient vehicles. To promote affordability, Congress should repeal the FET on CMVs, while agencies such as (EPA) must avoid imposing cost-prohibitive new regulatory mandates.”

See also: CARB showcases zero-emission vehicles

FTD seeks passage of the Modern, Clean, and Safe Trucks Act of 2021 (S. 2435), a bill introduced last July by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Todd Young (R-Indiana) to repeal the FET. A bipartisan companion bill is to be introduced in the House this week, according to McCandless.

In addition to FET repeal, during the fly-in attendees will also work to urge members of Congress to co-sponsor a House resolution, 6394, the catalytic converter anti-theft legislation, which ATD supports, and oppose another House resolution, 6570, a “right-to-repair” bill, he said.

Rep. Jim Baird (R-Indiana) is scheduled begin the ATD briefings on June 22 and is expected to focus on his catalytic converter anti-theft legislation. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-New Hampshire) will follow and share his perspective on the FET’s repeal and efforts to advance clean trucks.

EPA has mandated cleaner trucks for the future, and its March proposal will further reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) tailpipe emissions from medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Sarah Dunham, EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality director, will join the morning briefing on June 22 and discuss the proposed NOx rule and other emissions issues pertinent to commercial vehicle dealers, according to McCandless.