National Ground Water Foundation joins effort to suspend FET through end of 2021

New Freightliner Cascadia
The Modernize Truck Fleet Coalition has called on Congress to introduce legislation that would temporarily suspend the 12% federal excise tax on the sales of heavy-duty trucks and trailers through the end of 2021. (Courtesy: Freightliner)

WESTERVILLE, Ohio — The National Ground Water Foundation (NGWF) has joined the bipartisan Modernize the Truck Fleet Coalition in calling on Congress to temporarily suspend the 12% federal excise tax (FET) on the sales of heavy-duty trucks and trailers through the end of 2021.

The goal of the Coalition is to have a temporary suspension of the FET included in future COVID-19 stimulus legislation or potentially put forward as a separate piece of legislation. The bipartisan coalition consists of manufacturing, automotive, and agricultural organizations. The United Auto Workers, one of the nation’s largest labor unions, has also joined the coalition.

NGWA’s statement also notes that Class 8 truck sales plummeted 42.5% in July compared to the same time last year. The 12% federal excise tax on heavy-duty trucks and trailers is a costly barrier to new purchases, further depressing sales and hurting the 1.3 million U.S. workers in Class 8 truck- and trailer-manufacturing jobs.

A Sept. 25 letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-AL), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) urging the suspension of the FET was signed by more 200 organizations, including NGWF.

According to the letter, truck sales in the U.S. are predicted to drop by 50% in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of government-mandated closures and restrictions, truck manufacturers and truck dealers have suspended or scaled back operations.

“To jump start the economy after the pandemic, a suspension of the burdensome FET, which increases the cost of new heavy-duty trucks and trailers by $22,000 on average, would immediately spark the purchase of heavy-duty trucks and trailers. In turn, this would help save or bring back the livelihoods of the 7.8 million Americans employed in jobs related to trucking,” the letter states.

The letter also notes that during the global pandemic, the U.S. has become “more dependent than ever” on the trucking industry for the delivery of critical supplies, adding that the average age of commercial trucks on the road today is nearly 10 years old.

“We simply can’t do our job of providing communities with safe and clean water without trucks,” said Brian Snelten, chairman of NGWA’s government affairs committee. “We need a system that encourages purchasing new and safer vehicles that will help expand our small businesses. This tax does the opposite, and we feel it’s time for Congress to act.”

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