Surprise: Americans not keen on paying higher gas taxes

posted at 4:41 pm on April 22, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

So much for the “crumbling infrastructure” argument, which is flawed in substance as well as style.   In a rare show of bipartisan consensus, Gallup’s latest poll shows that two-thirds of Americans would oppose increasing gas taxes — at the state level, explicitly — in order to fund infrastructure work:

Two-thirds of Americans would vote against a state law that would increase the gas tax by up to 20 cents a gallon, with the revenue going toward improving roads and bridges and building more mass transit. Three in 10 Americans would vote for an increase in the gas tax in their state.

These data are from an April 9-10 Gallup poll, conducted about two weeks after Maryland lawmakers passed the first such increase in the state’s gas tax in 20 years. The revenue from Maryland’s gas tax increase — which analysts predict will boost gas prices between 13 and 20 cents per gallon by mid-2016 — will help support infrastructure and mass-transit projects. At least 17 states — some of which are under Democratic and some under Republican control — have recently approved or are considering gas tax hikes or fee changes to help fund infrastructure and mass-transit projects and repairs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Gallup’s analysis shows that Democrats and Westerners are more likely to support those efforts, but that’s only in a relative sense.  Democrats oppose higher gas taxes by a 15-point margin, 40/55, and among Westerners, the gap grows to 19 points at 37/56.

And those are the two best demographics for tax-hikers. Seventy percent or more of those earning $24K-90K oppose the idea, which is smart, because gas-tax hikes are significantly regressive.  They eat up a higher percentage of disposable income for lower-end earners not just directly because of the price of gasoline, but also indirectly as transportation cost increases drive up the price of goods, especially produce.  In the Midwest and South, 72% oppose the idea of gas-tax increases.

Simply put, there isn’t a single demographic in favor of the idea, even when married to the idea that the funds will go to improvements in roads, bridges, and mass transportation systems.  That’s likely to put a serious crimp in any future plans at the federal level for tax hikes to pay for similar projects.

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90% of Americans support higher energy prices.

This is easy….you try:

90% of Americans support [INSERT WHATEVER YOU WANT].

BobMbx on April 22, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Uh-Oh, an issue the low info voter can understand. Secret negotiations are in order.

Fenris on April 22, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Gas is all over the place her in MA. Going to work Friday morning I passed a station with 3.43/gal and going by it on the way home it had gone up to 3.56. Stations in a 10 mile radius from my house vary in price by 15 cents and it seems to change daily.

What’s this got to do with gas taxes? Nothing. I guess I just wanted to rant about prices.

Dr. Frank Enstine on April 22, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Yeah, but with gas prices dropping to “only” $3.30 a gallon, we shouldn’t act so greedy. Besides, we know any new taxes….errrr, revenue for infrastructure investments will be spent wisely, just like the stimulus bill.

Doughboy on April 22, 2013 at 4:46 PM

At this point, what difference does it make?

Its not what a majority of Americans are keen on.

Its what Barry is keen on doing to America.

hawkeye54 on April 22, 2013 at 4:48 PM

90% of Americans support [INSERT WHATEVER YOU WANT].
BobMbx on April 22, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Me being paid year just for existing. Now how do I make that true? Maybe become president?

Dr. Frank Enstine on April 22, 2013 at 4:48 PM

There are not many roads,interstate highways,or freeways that aren’t being worked on at some point causing traffic jams and have been for 50 years.You can’t swing a dead cat and not hit road work.I call BS on this infrastructure selling job they keep pushing.They just want the money.

docflash on April 22, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Yeah, but with gas prices dropping to “only” $3.30 a gallon, we shouldn’t act so greedy. Besides, we know any new taxes….errrr, revenue for infrastructure investments will be spent wisely, just like the stimulus bill.

Yup…..and if we aren’t paying $10/gal then we have it too good.

hawkeye54 on April 22, 2013 at 4:49 PM

We’ve been at or over $4.29/gallon for over a month now. This is not a tolerable price.

The ONLY reason you’re not hearing the politicians or the Governors complain is because the coffers are filling up with the tax revenues, while the consumer gets it in the @ss!

Rovin on April 22, 2013 at 4:50 PM

It’s not as though the public has wised up to the lies the money will be used for infrastructure projects. Most states will use it to plug leaks in their General Funds.

90% of Americans support [INSERT WHATEVER YOU WANT].

BobMbx on April 22, 2013 at 4:43 PM

90% of Americans support having a box of Captain Crunch for dinner.

Mitoch55 on April 22, 2013 at 4:52 PM

with the revenue going toward improving roads and bridges and building more mass transit.

Take out the choo choo trains and try the survey again.

MNHawk on April 22, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Me being paid year just for existing. Now how do I make that true? Maybe become president?

Dr. Frank Enstine on April 22, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Freaky.
It dropped the 1 million/per from that sentence.

Dr. Frank Enstine on April 22, 2013 at 4:53 PM

The main reason gas prices are so high is the Climate Change/Global Warming, CO2 tax and spend Al Gore/Michael Mann fraud.

http://www.wattsupwiththat.com

The EPA lives only to push the gas price higher and the U.S.A. lower.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on April 22, 2013 at 4:53 PM

even when married to the idea that the funds will go to improvements in roads, bridges, and mass transportation systems.

And of course we all know that the money only goes to improving “transportation systems”

Most people reject the increase, I think, because they realize that the money will go to every other pet project except “transportation systems”

E9RET on April 22, 2013 at 4:54 PM

I’ll gladly pay 100% of my income in taxes as long as I get a 200% income deduction.

Limerick on April 22, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Weren’t the last 5 stimulus crap sandwiches for infrastructure????

stenwin77 on April 22, 2013 at 4:56 PM

“Tax Reform” is a euphemism for “make somebody else pay”

J_Crater on April 22, 2013 at 4:56 PM

It dropped the 1 million/per from that sentence.

Dr. Frank Enstine on April 22, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Apparently it thought you were being too greedy. There is a point when you’ve made enough money, you know.

John the Libertarian on April 22, 2013 at 4:57 PM

There is a point when you’ve made enough money, you know.

John the Libertarian on April 22, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Yep. About 18 seconds before they close my eyes.

Limerick on April 22, 2013 at 4:58 PM

90% of Americans support having a box of Captain Crunch for dinner.

Mitoch55 on April 22, 2013 at 4:52 PM

90% of Americans support shredding the roof of their mouth at dinner?

Ditkaca on April 22, 2013 at 5:01 PM

They’ll pay high internet taxes and all sorts of other taxes, until they are all destroyed.

Schadenfreude on April 22, 2013 at 5:06 PM

A little late to be worrying about any Tax increases, with a boat-load of higher and/or new taxes on the way. Socialism (McCain & Romney) and Communism (Obama & Hillary) don’t come cheap…

Karmi on April 22, 2013 at 5:13 PM

All those greedy people bitterly clinging to their income. /

Liam on April 22, 2013 at 5:14 PM

I’m literally being taxed/inflated from a comfortable lifestyle into one where I act like I am living thru the great depression.

oh, wait…I am living thru the great depression.

tom daschle concerned on April 22, 2013 at 5:17 PM

How about the Internet Sales Tax Harry Reid slipped in last Tuesday? It’s only been available online for viewing since the weekend.

portlandon on April 22, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Simply put, there isn’t a single demographic in favor of the idea, even when married to the idea that the funds will go to improvements in roads, bridges, and mass transportation systems. That’s likely to put a serious crimp in any future plans at the federal level for tax hikes to pay for similar projects.

At least in part everyone knows that increased gas taxes will NOT go to improving roads. The governing class will use it to fund public transit and the roads in the areas they live…and that will be it.

Here is a counter suggestion…pass a law that 100% of the gas tax must be spent on road construction and maintenance.

I’d love to see Republicans go further in fact and propose a city taxes. Since cities have become enormous sinks of government funds I’d like to states level taxes on city governments.

18-1 on April 22, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Wait one cotton pickin minute here….first explain what the heck has been going on with the hundreds of billions… Nay trillions the government has and is already collected and collecting thru the already outrageous gas taxes they sold to us for roads and infrastructure repair!!!!

Caseoftheblues on April 22, 2013 at 5:24 PM

gas-tax hikes are significantly regressive. They eat up a higher percentage of disposable income for lower-end earners not just directly because of the price of gasoline, but also indirectly as transportation cost increases drive up the price of goods, especially produce.

^^Leftists don’t understand this because economic illiteracy is the foundation of their entire approach to humanity.

visions on April 22, 2013 at 5:24 PM

90% of Americans support having a box of Captain Crunch for dinner.

Mitoch55 on April 22, 2013 at 4:52 PM

90% of Americans support shredding the roof of their mouth at dinner?

Ditkaca on April 22, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Hurts so Good

Mitoch55 on April 22, 2013 at 5:26 PM

It would probably be a little different if gas prices were under $2 gallon.

myiq2xu on April 22, 2013 at 5:43 PM

B-B-B-But… we had a stimulus that was going to rebuild the crumblin’ roads ‘n bridges!

/Blech

Key West Reader on April 22, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Health insurance premiums are going down 3000%, that should offset any increase in gas tax.

tom daschle concerned on April 22, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Health insurance premiums are going down 3000%, that should offset any increase in gas tax.

tom daschle concerned on April 22, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Kelly Maher uses a tag on Twitter (first time I saw it) that makes me laugh everytime I see it:

#learnmathhippie

Axe on April 22, 2013 at 6:05 PM

I’ll gladly pay 100% of my income in taxes as long as I get a 200% income deduction.

Limerick on April 22, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Then you could live off the rebate checks from your 3000% lower insurance rates. (Per d’ohbama)

Solaratov on April 22, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Yeah, but with gas prices dropping to “only” $3.30 a gallon, we shouldn’t act so greedy. Besides, we know any new taxes….errrr, revenue for infrastructure investments will be spent wisely, just like the stimulus bill.

Doughboy on April 22, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Hush now! Under a democratic president we’re not supposed to talk about high gasoline prices!

slickwillie2001 on April 22, 2013 at 6:22 PM

…what the heck has been going on with the hundreds of billions… Nay trillions the government has and is already collected and collecting thru the already outrageous gas taxes they sold to us for roads and infrastructure repair!!!!

Caseoftheblues on April 22, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Why, we have the finest, most modern roads and strongest bridges in the entire civilized world, don’tcha know.
And that stuff don’t come cheap…what with union kickbacks craftsmanship and crony donor bundler investor paybacks.

Makes one feel sorry for the euroweenies having to make do on their old, wornout roads and falling down bridges…don’t it?

Solaratov on April 22, 2013 at 6:23 PM

sell the Interstate and major State highways.

rock the casbah on April 22, 2013 at 6:35 PM

When we look at recent history, every attempt to raise taxes is sold on the idea that this will be an “investment” in either expanding the economy, or improving the infrastructure – which would aid the former.
In reality, what we have seen is that most, if not all, of the funds raised from whatever tax increase they sell us on, is used to line the pockets of the Apparat, either directly through pay-raises or increased benefits, or indirectly through enhanced retirement benefits.
CA is a Sterling example of this slight-of-hand.

Another Drew on April 22, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Three in 10 Americans would vote for an increase in the gas tax in their state.

 

Americans who agree with my ideology outnumber your kind. My team always and I mean always wins when Americans come out in great numbers to vote.
 
HotAirLib on April 22, 2013 at 1:51 PM

rogerb on April 22, 2013 at 7:06 PM

In Philly, most people get around by either bus, subway or el. SEPT(IC)A will raise their fares and I will hear non-stop sob stories about how the poor can’t afford it. The mayor will need to increase another tax to help with their burden. So, the $50K-$90K earners will see two new tax increases when all is said and done.
BTW, I don’t live in Philly, but live in the viewing area.

djaymick on April 22, 2013 at 7:48 PM

Until we’re more keen about telling the greenies to FOAD then we are about some leftist propaganda about Gore-Bull warming, this is our future folks.

MelonCollie on April 22, 2013 at 8:07 PM

The main problem is the politicians. They want to raise taxes for……….and then when they get the money, spend it on something else. The idiots in Sacramento are famous for raiding “specialty funds”.

As for “mass transit”. Just call it what it is, A FREAKING MONEY PIT!

GarandFan on April 22, 2013 at 8:33 PM

Politicians didn’t want to raise the gas tax by small increments in years past because it would have been unpopular (and prejudicial to re-election — the greatest threat of all). After all, why solve small problems which threaten re-election when you can wait until it grows in to a big problem and requires a much larger increase?

A big problem with that “fix” is whether or not the public, who will pay the proposed increase in gas tax, think that the presumably greater revenues would be actually spent on infrastructure or whether the legislature would find ways to get their hands on it. The poll demonstrates that perhaps the public is a good deal skeptical about the latter case.

Russ808 on April 23, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Hey, let’s tax cigarettes, smokless tobacco, alcohol, ammunition, pot and the air you breath and say that it is for infrastructure improvement. No one will notice that the roads are falling apart because they will be complaining about all the taxes.

georgeofthedesert on April 23, 2013 at 4:17 PM