The Federal Excise Tax on Tractors and Trailers should be repealed

A Tax on All of Trucking

Currently, there is a 12% excise tax imposed on the first-time purchase of commercial motor vehicle tractors and trailers. This increases the cost of new equipment significantly and therefore discourages trucking companies, especially tank trucking companies, from acquiring new equipment. This has caused America’s commercial tractor and trailer fleet to be increasingly older and slower to adopt new technologies, safety equipment, and cleaner and more efficient vehicles.


The federal excise tax on these commercial motor vehicles should be repealed to allow for a more flexible, safe, and current fleet of commercial tractor and trailers. 

A Safer, more Efficient, less Costly Trucking Sector

The excise tax on commercial motor tractors and trailers is antiquated and slows infrastructure improvement. This tax was initially levied as a temporary measure to help fund the war effort during World War 1. It has now been in place for more than a century, artificially inflating the prices of equipment absolutely vital to the transport of American goods. This price increase effects the tank trucking industry more so than the rest of trucking; due to the nature of its cargo, tank trucking requires specialized trailers for its often dangerous cargo, which can cost between $100,000 and $1,000,000 per trailer.

This extra cost means that trucking companies are less likely to adopt the newest models of tractors and trailers with improved crash prevention technologies and better fuel economies, and trailers with improved safety measures. A stagnant fleet means more accidents, and for the tank truck industry, more hazardous materials spills. Depending on the cargo, these spills can costs tens of thousands of dollars to clean up, and can close highways to close completely for as much as 12 hours at a time. 

Repealing the excise tax will allow the trucking industry to upgrade its tractor and trailer stock more frequently at their market price, reducing spills and accidents and improving the efficiency of the industry as a whole. Especially for the tank truck industry, which requires specialized equipment, this would be a considerable boon.

Excise Tax Issue Summary
(Microsoft Word Document)