Taxpayers don’t want to pay more taxes at the pump

Posted By on May 12, 2009

Although some in the Obama administration have proposed that raising taxes on fuel is one way to encourage driving less and buying smaller more fuel efficient vehicles, Americans surveyed by Rasmussen don’t like it. A short FoxNews interview with Scott Rasmussen highlights that 81% oppose additional fuel taxes, although they seem to be a bit more positive with the “Cash for Clunkers” proposal.

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Given last year’s record-high gasoline prices and the still-fluctuating price at the pump, most Americans aren’t interested in the government tacking on any more, even in the name of fuel efficiency.

Just 10% of adults think the federal government should increase the tax on gasoline by a large amount as a way of encouraging people to buy more fuel-efficient cars, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Eighty-one percent (81%) oppose a large tax hike for that purpose, and eight percent (8%) are undecided.

These sentiments remain largely unchanged from nearly two years when 86% said they opposed the idea of raising gas taxes by 50 cents a gallon as a result of congressional legislation that would encourage the development of more fuel-efficient cars.

In April of last year, 60% of Americans favored suspending the federal gas tax completely for the summer to offset soaring gas prices.

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Younger Americans are slightly more supportive of raising the gas tax to encourage the purchase of more fuel-efficient cars than their elders, but even among those ages 18 to 29, 79% are opposed.

Fifteen percent (15%) of men support a big tax increase on gasoline to push sales of fuel-efficient cars, compared to six percent (6%) of women.

Thirteen percent (13%) of both Democrats and adults not affiliated with either major party like the gas tax proposal versus just four percent (4%) of Republicans. Eighteen percent (18%) of government employees agree, compared to seven percent (7%) who work in the private sector.

But again in all categories, the vast majority oppose a gas tax hike as a way to push more fuel-efficient cars.

Americans give mixed reviews to the “Cash for Clunkers” plan now moving through Congress that would give car owners up to $4,500 toward the purchase of a new, more fuel-efficient car if they turn in their old vehicle.

Only 22% of Americans are willing to spend more to buy an energy-efficient hybrid car to help the environment. Even last October, after record high prices at the pump, just 37% said they were more likely to buy a hybrid car than they were a year earlier.

Americans took a dim view of another car-focused tax when it was proposed earlier this year. Seventy-three percent (73%) rejected the idea of taxing drivers based on how many miles they drive to help fund the building and repair of roads and bridges. Only 18% supported a mileage tax.

The findings are not surprising since Americans consistently favor tax cuts over tax hikes and additional government spending. Fifty-one percent (51%) of Americans, for example, support the idea of tax credits for individuals who purchase alternative fuel cars.

Most U.S. voters believe they already pay more than their fair share of taxes.

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  • Jacob E

    Can’t believe some people wouldn’t want to pay MORE taxes!

    I’m guessing most Americans may not think about it, but it’s almost always cheaper to keep the vehicle you have and pay higher gas prices than it is to buy a new(ish) car that gets better mileage, so raising taxes will just pinch just a little more into our ever emptying wallets but not really enough to drive everyone into a new car. I’m living that out and you got me there Rich. 🙂 Sold my 97 Taurus that got 22mpg roughly for the diesel Jetta that gets almost 50mpg. It’ll still take 15 years + to ‘save’ the difference in fuel costs. Longer for me since I’m driving about 90% less than I thought I would be when I bought the car. No regrets though, it’s a fun car. 🙂

  • Thanks for the comment Jacob … and I’d still rather be driving “your” car than about any other small car! (yes … I miss my TDI)

  • Pick up truck buyers could be the big winners if the “cash for clunkers” bill passes:

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.