Federal legislation to repeal the 12% federal excise tax on truck and trailer purchases and replace it with an increase in the diesel fuel tax was introduced March 29 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The excise tax has been in place since the adoption of Title 26, Section 4051 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1982 and was re-established in 1986. The tax, along with federal fuel taxes, is a source of revenue for the Highway Trust Fund, which provides monies for surface transportation programs across the country.
In order to protect the Highway Trust Fund from a loss of revenue due to the repeal of the truck and trailer excise tax, the diesel tax would increase by 6.4 cents per gallon. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, this would result in a net equal sum over the course of 10 years. The Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA) says that this change in law would give more certainty to Highway Trust Fund revenues by linking the funding to diesel fuel consumption rather than the excise tax since truck and equipment sales tend to fluctuate greatly based on economic conditions.
TRALA reports that its members purchase between 35-40% of all new trucks and equipment in North America. Eliminating the excise tax on truck and trailer purchases would help mitigate the cost of investing in new equipment and accelerate the utilization of new environmental and safety technologies in commercial truck transportation, TRALA says.
The bill’s full text had not yet been made available by the Library of Congress at the time of this writing.