A new effort is being launched to reduce the 12% Federal Excise Tax (FET) on all new commercial trucks as a way to encourage fleets to invest in security and safety technology, as well as cleaner diesel engines.
The Freight Transportation Security Consortium (FTSC) is pushing the FET reduction idea mainly because it realizes that trucking companies are facing tough economic conditions.
"It seems that the interests of the government, the truckers and the OEMs are really the same. Everyone would like a safer, more secure and 'greener' national fleet," said FTSC director Drew Robertson. "It's just a question of timing and money, but that's a big question."
Robertson said that because of rising insurance costs, higher fuel prices, and falling freight volumes, trucking companies just don't have the money to invest in some of the security systems being touted as a way to help harden transportation operations against terrorists.
"The economics of the industry are difficult and the benefits from better security or safety equipment will likely go to the insurers, not the truckers," he said. "A change to FET might be the best way to actually do something for national security, the trucking industry and the environment."