Poll: 70 Percent Oppose Energy "Tax" Hikes


More dollars per gallon

A new poll commissioned by the D.C.-based free-market energy think tank, the Institute for Energy Research, finds that 70 percent of Americans are opposed to the equivalent of increasing energy taxes. (I say "equivalent" in this case because the solons on Capitol Hill are actually proposing a cap-and-trade carbon rationing scheme that amounts to an energy tax hike.) Some results below:

Supporters of these taxes say they would reduce our dependency on foreign sources of oil, encourage greater energy efficiency, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels such as oil and coal, and benefit the environment by reducing global warming at relatively little cost.

Opponents of these taxes say they will significantly increase costs on all consumers, households and businesses causing prices for U.S. goods and services to increase, making America less competitive globally and lead to significant job losses.

After hearing this, do you support or oppose new energy taxes in order to limit greenhouse gas emissions and address global warming?

(14%) Strongly Support
(14%) Somewhat Support
(16%) Somewhat Oppose
(54%) Strongly Oppose
(2%) Undecided/DK (Do Not Read)
(0%) No answer/Refuse

14. Consumers pay an average of 50 cents in state and federal taxes on a gallon of gasoline. Knowing this, how much more are you willing to pay for a gallon of gasoline in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address global warming?

(61%) I oppose any increase in gas taxes
(14%) 10 cents per gallon
(8%) 20 cents per gallon
(8%) 50 cents per gallon
(4%) 1 dollar per gallon
(2%) More than 1 dollar per gallon
(2%) Dk/Na (Do Not Read)

The pollsters also found that 70 percent don't believe that higher energy taxes will reduce global warming and that 65 percent say that they would be less likely to vote for congresscritters that support higher energy taxes.

Go here [pdf] for the complete IER poll results.

NEXT: Are Guns Medical Devices?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This is why we elect people who are smarter than us so they can force us to do what we are too stupid to do on our own.

  2. Nice results to read.

    I wonder how they would change if “and create green jobs” were added to the purported benefits claimed by supporters.

    1. Or put “family” in there somewhere. Also “pony.”

    2. Mike P: Only 15 percent of respondents agreed that the new energy taxes would create more jobs; 47 percent that the taxes destroy more jobs; 30 percent said they would have no impact; and 9 percent didn’t know.

      1. !

        Is this understanding more intuitive than I thought it was?

      2. Even better news. I’m encouraged to see that so many people know taxes kill jobs.

  3. Kind of in the same vein, this is the actual wording of a June referendum in Maine:
    “Do you favor a $26,500,000 bond issue that will create jobs through investment in an off-shore wind energy demonstration site and related manufacturing to advance Maine’s energy independence from imported foreign oil, that will leverage $24,500,000 in federal and other funds and for energy improvements at campuses of the University of Maine System, Maine Community College System and Maine Maritime Academy in order to make facilities more efficient and less costly to operate?”

    well, hell yeah, that sounds great (it passed)

  4. Forcing innovation only works if you use a war to push it, if even. Taxing something to push for a new direction only spurs a desire to change representation.

    1. Forcing innovation only works if you use a war to push it…


  5. This is somewhat refreshing in that people are generally against voluntarily forking over more of their paycheck to deal with a problem that doesn’t really seem to have a clear solution.

    But the question itself is remarkably disingenuous. I’m so farking sick of reading the argument for “reducing our dependency on foreign sources of oil” I could shoot blood out of my eyelids.

    We cannot, will not, nor should reduce our dependency on foreign sources of oil, especially considering the three main suppliers of foreign oil to the US are Canada, Mexico and Venezuela. Good LORD I hate this argument.

  6. Consumers pay an average of 50 cents in state and federal taxes on a gallon of gasoline.

    What a bargain. I pay around a dozen times that on a pack of smokes…. Get ready for it folks – gasoline is one of the few remaining nearly-untapped sources of massive sin-tax revenue.

  7. Well, they passed HCR over that small fringe of fanatics that don’t like it, las polled at 60%.

  8. While this is anathema on this site, I am actually for increased carbon based fuel taxes and for decreasing income based taxes. I think we should raise the carbon based fuel taxes the equivalent of 50 cents a gallon. Then raise the level of income at which we begin to pay federal income taxes. Say today you begin paying fed income tax at $15K. Raise the carbon based fuel tax and begin paying fed income tax at $40K. Helps the lowest income earners. I am all for taxes where I can change my daily habits and reduce my taxes. I am against taxes that take away from me that which I seek to maximize which is my income. I liked the car tax in my state of Virginia because I could avoid it by driving old cars. It kept my income taxes down. If I wanted to drive a nice new shiny car, I paid the tax. Personally I prefer to invest my money, and waste the rest on women and wine.

    1. All the grocery and other retail chains ask if you want to add a dollar to your purchase to support the fight against cancer X…why not use the same approach and add a button at the pump that lets such caring citizens pay more for their fuel in service to global warming reduction? The rest of us can just pay for the fuel.

    2. “While this is anathema on this site, I am actually for increased carbon based fuel taxes and for decreasing income based taxes.”

      I wouldn’t say it’s anathema. I’m mostly in agreement.

      A tax on consumption (particularly on non-renewable resources, not only gasoline) makes much more sense than a tax on production. (Especially in an economy where consumption greatly exceeds production.)

      I don’t entirely agree with your “raise the tax exemption level” approach. While it does benefit the poor, it creates an even greater proportion of voters who pay no income taxes at all. Problematic in a democracy.

      I’d prefer to see consumption tax revenue be offset by an equal reduction in all income tax rates, or better yet, an end to double taxation of capital gains and dividends.

      In reality, it’s not at all likely to happen… we’ll just end up paying the gas tax, with no reduction in income taxes, so I’m opposed.

    3. Yes, we don’t have enough recipients, let’s make us some more.  What could go wrong?

      You’re also forgetting that prices of everything moved, heated, cooled, or lit will “necessarily skyrocket” affecting the bottom earners anyway. 

      Stop trying to make this place Venezuela. 

  9. This seems to get at which argument (as presented) people find more convincing. Of course neither presented argument has the supporting data included, so people responding to the poll are responding, mostly, to which slogan is more salient. Negative slogans have an edge to start with, and the particular presentation puts relative improvements in opposition to absolutes (e.g., job loss is experienced as an absolute by the individual).

    They could have just done it this way.

    Choice A will make us all a little bit happier.

    Choice B might make you lose your job.

  10. “Supporters of these taxes say they would reduce our dependency on foreign sources of oil”. If you stop banning drilling for oil in your own country that might help too.

  11. I’m not specifically opposed to a carbon tax if it directly spurred investment in alternative energies and funded ways to reduce overall CO2 in the atmosphere. Unfortunately I know the reality is that any tax becomes a slush fund to the government to fund their entitlements and makes the nation poorer rather than richer.

  12. I do not use the dependency on foreign sources of oil. Oil is fungible. Silly argument. Even if we drill locally (which I favor) it only affects overall supply and thus the supply/demand curve and thus price. As far as poor people not paying taxes. What are FICA payments? If you say for social security, in my opinion you are wrong. Social Security is pay as you go so is coming out of the general fund. It is all accounting fiction on your paycheck. They are taxes pure and simple.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.