Survey: Majority support gas tax hike dedicated to maintenance, safety

Survey: Majority support gas tax hike dedicated to maintenance, safety

Seven in 10 Americans support raising the federal gas tax by 10 cents per gallon if the revenue would be dedicated to maintenance or safety.

“What Do Americans Think About Federal Tax Options to Support Transportation? Results from Year Fourteen of a National Survey,” by the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University provides an annual snapshot into how Americans view raising revenues via higher gas taxes or new mileage fees.

While 71 percent supported raising the gas tax if funds were dedicated to maintaining the transportation system, only 40 percent supported the increase if money were spent more generally “for transportation.” More than two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) agreed with using some revenue to support public transit, which has varied since 2013 between 61 and 72 percent.

A majority of respondents supported the idea of replacing the gas tax with a varying “green” mileage fee based on how much a vehicle pollutes. Since the survey began in 2010, support for both higher gas taxes and a hypothetical new mileage fee has “risen slowly but steadily,” from 22 and 34 percent, respectively.

A funding shortfall of $250 billion is projected over the next decade for the Highway Trust Fund. At the same time, the growing trend of EV sales has led a coalition of states to explore mileage-based user fees. See more in this story from InTransition.

Data was collected from a nationally representative sample of 2,531 adults living in the United States who completed an online survey in February and March 2023, with results published in November. Complete survey results are available in this 63-page report.