• ITVI.USA
    13,820.510
    57.700
    0.4%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.320
    0.700
    3.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,799.390
    60.030
    0.4%
  • TLT.USA
    2.640
    -0.010
    -0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.480
    0.060
    2.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.190
    0.050
    2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.400
    0.180
    14.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.730
    0.160
    6.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.440
    0.040
    2.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.870
    -0.010
    -0.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
  • ITVI.USA
    13,820.510
    57.700
    0.4%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.320
    0.700
    3.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,799.390
    60.030
    0.4%
  • TLT.USA
    2.640
    -0.010
    -0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.480
    0.060
    2.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.190
    0.050
    2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.400
    0.180
    14.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.730
    0.160
    6.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.440
    0.040
    2.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.870
    -0.010
    -0.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
Driver issuesNewsTrucking Regulation

Owner-operators seek one-year suspension of heavy vehicle tax

Waiving $550-per-truck tax a bigger benefit than suspending federal excise tax, OOIDA tells Congress

Small-business truckers are countering a tax proposal by their big-business counterparts with one of their own: Suspend the heavy vehicle use tax (HVUT) — a better way to provide relief to the industry than suspending the federal excise tax (FET), they contend.

In a Thursday letter to congressional leaders, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) argued that a one-year suspension of the HVUT — an annual fee that costs about $550 per truck — would help every trucking business, large or small. By contrast, suspending the FET on the purchase of a new truck, which can cost upwards of $100,000, only benefits companies with big wallets.

“For small businesses wondering how they’ll make next month’s insurance payment or pay for fuel, they will never see any benefit from an FET suspension,” OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer stated in the letter.

“An FET suspension would also create a significant shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund, and we have questions with how this would be backfilled. If there are new industry-wide fees or taxes to pay for an FET suspension, then all trucking companies, regardless of whether they benefitted from the FET suspension, would be responsible for its offset.”

The latest effort to temporarily suspend the 12% FET on new truck purchases has been ongoing since April. Led by the National Automobile Dealers Association, the effort is supported by trade groups and private companies that include the American Trucking Associations, truckload carrier Werner Enterprises and truck manufacturer Navistar.

The goal of both initiatives is to get the respective proposals included in the next COVID-19 relief package.

“While some trucking operations have been able to qualify for pandemic assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, many others have not been able to for one reason or another,” Spencer wrote. “Suspending the HVUT would bypass the complications of these programs and provide a simple way to make sure that all truckers get relief.

Backers of suspending the FET cite the ongoing collapse of truck sales — now at a 25-year low — as an opportunity for a stimulus led by suspension of the tax. 

“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,” according to supporters of suspending the FET.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate and Democrats in the U.S. House, meanwhile, are far apart on negotiations for a next COVID-19 aid package. The House passed a $3 trillion relief plan last month, and the Senate answered this week with a $1 trillion plan. A $600 weekly unemployment benefit that was part of the first relief package is set to expire today.

Related stories:

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

Tags
Show More

John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

3 Comments

  1. This is very good idea as this is a fixed cost like insurance or plates and will not lower freight rates like more new Truck s and e wages subsidy will. It is also fair to all fleet sizes and farmers who truck on the side.

    1. I agree, best idea I’ve heard in a while! I could use the breathing room for my small operation! Like OOIdA said, suspending the FET would benefit the big fleets mostly and once again, the little guy gets it between the back pockets! We can pick up on nixing the FET later on because its probably gonna be a factor after we get a cure for Covid 19 and get the economy mainly manufacturing back to full strength, more transportation outfits big and small may want to buy trucks again. The absence of the FET really will make buying new trucks and trailers more alluring! Seems to me that they’ve made a home in the budget for a tax that was only supposed to be temporary anyway!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close