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Rasmussen survey finds 53% of likely US voters oppose increase in gasoline tax, even if dedicated only to interstate highways

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 33% of likely US Voters would favor a modest increase in the gas tax even if they knew the revenue would be used only to pay for building, maintaining and repairing the Interstate Highway System. 53% would oppose any such gas tax hike even if the money was dedicated only to the Interstate system. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.

38% of voters believe the cost of building, maintaining and repairing the Interstate Highway System should be funded entirely from gas taxes paid into the Highway Trust Fund. 45% disagree and think the federal government should provide additional funding from the general operating budget. 17% are undecided.

A federal gas tax of $0.184 per gallon is the chief source of money for the Highway Trust Fund. That fund in turn pays a sizable of portion, but not all, of the costs related to the Interstate Highway System. Some of the money in the fund also goes to mass transit.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has suggested a mileage tax for drivers as a way to pay for the Obama administration’s plans to spend $556 billion over six years on transportation projects. But Americans nationwide remain firmly opposed to a tax based on the number of miles they drive, according to Rasmussen findings.

32% incorrectly believe that money in the Highway Trust Fund is only used for building, maintaining and repairing highways. 25% recognize that is not true; 43% are not sure.

House Republicans are proposing major cuts in federal transportation spending to keep the trust fund solvent without raising gas taxes. 74% of Americans oppose raising the gas tax to meet new transportation needs.

Just over two months ago when gas prices were climbing, 44% of Americans felt the government should eliminate the federal gasoline tax completely until prices came down. 35% disagreed and said the government should not eliminate the tax; 21% weren’t sure.

73% of voters think gas taxes paid into the Highway Trust Fund should be used only for building, maintaining and repairing highways. 17% oppose limiting this revenue in that fashion.

52% believe it is appropriate to use some of the money in the Highway Trust Fund for mass transit systems such as trains, subways and buses as is currently the case. 38% do not think it is appropriate to use the trust fund money in this way.

Female voters are more supportive than male voters of spending on mass transit. Voters under 40 tend to agree with mass transit spending more than their elders do.

70% of Democrats and 53% of voters not affiliated with either major party think it’s appropriate to use some of the trust fund money to help pay for mass transit projects. 56% of Republicans disagree.

A plurality (49%) of GOP voters believe the cost of the Interstate Highway System should be met entirely by gas taxes paid into the Highway Trust Fund. Most Democrats (54%) think instead that the federal government should provide additional funding for the Interstate system from the general operating budget. Unaffiliated voters are evenly divided.

Even if they knew that federal gas taxes were used only to pay for the Interstate Highway System, the majority of Republicans (64%) and Democrats (51%) would oppose even a modest increase in the gas tax. Unaffiliateds are again almost evenly divided.

The Political Class believes much more strongly than Mainstream voters that some Highway Trust fund money should be spend on mass transit projects. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Political Class voters think the federal government should provide additional money for the Interstate highways from the general operating budget, a view shared by only 41% of those in the Mainstream.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 8-9, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.



Of course a majority of Americans are opposed to raising taxes....Obama and a supermajority of Democrats added trillions of dollars to our national debt, with a result of 10% official unemployment to this very day --- and now they want us to go into debt further! It's insane...thankfully, the elections are coming!


Just because two events occur near the same time does not mean one caused the other. You could have equally concluded that 10% unemployment caused the deficit which would have been closer to correct, but not all the story.


Here is the debt from when Bush came in until out

Jan 2001 5,727,776,738,304.64
Jan 2002 5,922,321,839,074.39
Jan 2003 6,389,894,461,722.18
Jan 2004 7,006,834,072,435.49
Jan 2005 7,613,215,612,328.37
Jan 2006 8,175,743,292,992.87
Jan 2007 8,675,085,083,537.48
Jan 2008 9,188,640,287,930.39
Jan 2009 10,626,877,048,913.08

The final budget for 2008-2009 was signed by Bush and was $1.42 trillion in

deficit. That brings the total Bush debt to over $6 trillion. He entered $5.6

trillion in debt and by the time his 2008-2009 budget was finished we were

more than $12 trillion in debt.


It is surprising to read how few Americans realize that they will eventually have to pay for what they are using. Free rides cannot last forever. Credits have limits and are already over extended. Everybody cannot be a millionaire with his/her mansion, 4+ gas guzzlers and private jet. Awakening day will hit hard soon. Many will have to grow up over night.


Drill baby drill, lower taxes, more oil wars, etc is definitely not the solution to the major problems facing USA.


SJC...good idea to post this info. Unfortunately, deniers will not believe it.


I thought it was interesting, most think the deficits were under $300 billion because that is what they were told. The deficits were over $600 billion as you can see, but borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund does not show up on the deficit and the wars were paid for with supplementals which are not considered part of the budget so do not show up on the deficit. Can you say "smoke and mirrors?"


The Bush spending spree was almost as equally disgusting as Obama's....the reason Obama's is slightly more disgusting is because unemployment is still at 9-10% after a trillion dollar "stimulus". Bush's Wall Street bailout & Detroit bailout made me sick, along with years of Republicans in the majority with Bush being fiscally irresponsible.

Richard Slay

Okay, it's time to test EJJ's knowledge of American history.

In September 1929, the stock market, propped up by years of low interest rates, stock and real estate speculation, and stagnant wages requiring ordinary Americans to go massively into debt to buy goods to keep the corporations profitable and their stocks rising, finally crashed. With free market dogma reigning supreme, it lost 90% of its value, and unemployment went from near zero to 30% over several years. The more Hoover's government tried to stop spending and deficits, the more money was taken out of circulation and the worse unemployment got. In January 1933, 3 1/2 years after the crash, the banks were on the verge of collapse, protesting military veterans had been slaughtered in Washington DC by the Army, Republican Iowa farmers had formed mobs to attack foreclosers, US-born Mexican-American citizens were being forcibly deported to Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma were using troops to shut down oil production and Communists were marching in the streets.

In October 2008, the stock market, propped up by years of low interest rates, stock and real estate speculation, and stagnant wages requiring ordinary Americans to go massively into debt to buy goods to keep the corporations profitable and their stocks rising, finally crashed. The banks blackmailed the world's governments into a bailout to avoid the events of 1929 - Bush actually threatened Democratic congressmen with the specter of martial law if such conditions came about. Stocks and real estate were propped up, the worst of the consequences of a good old-fashioned free-market collapse were headed off, but the rich had made it clear that they were willing to cause all those old plagues if they were made to bear any of the burden for the catastrophe they had caused - and had caused in many past panics. As for the stimulus, it mostly consisted of tax cuts, which right-wingers keep claiming is the solution for everything. Combined with Bush's previous tax cuts for the rich, it destroyed Federal revenues. It did not consist of direct emergency hiring as did FDR's second wave of programs, which kept millions above water and built much of the infrastructure that served America during World War II, like the TVA, highways, bridges, bus and train stations, public school stadiums, and airports.

So what would the unemployment rate be today if we had done things the Herbert Hoover way, EJJ?


Thanks for taking time to post Richard, but these days both sides are dug in so hard that reason is rare. There are some parallels between then and now, all I know is this is now and the stakes are high. Make the wrong move and we all go down and there are NO "do overs".


Why do so many hold Bush up as the standard?

He convinced the Democrats that we should go to war, radically increase the debt, and put Obama in office.

Obama is only somewhat worse than Bush?
That gonna be his campaign slogan?


Who's to blame for the debt;
And why;

President Harry S Truman once said- "If you want to live like a Republican, vote Democrat."
Here's proof;


I will point out befire 9/11 bush was shrinking the armed forces and in fact we got into the war in iraq BECAUSE our army was still shrinking and he only had so long to get what info they could on iraq before we no longer could invade.

Also brainiacs.. exactly how many more years do you think sadam would have remained clueless to his nuke scientists keeping him from the bomb? 1-2.. then round up children and toss em into the grinder till he gets his bomb.... tada ww3.....

We got bleeping lucky a few men in the worst possible place did the bravest thing ever.. and that bush invaded before they were found out.

If he had not invaded when he did I dont think we would be talking right now.


I'm not opposed to higher fuel taxes provided thay are fair, balanced in the context of prevailing market fuel prices, and go back into investing in all modes of transport.

In the UK we have lost the plot. The environment has been used as an excuse many times for the government to ramp up fuel taxes far beyond a fair level and the effect on retailing and the economy is very telling.

Some people in more environmental and socialist quarters will argue that there are hidden costs to consider, but often fail to weight them against the benefits that cars offer, especially when alternatives do not and cannot live up to the job. If we were to apply 'hidden' costs to everything as thse people suggest there would be taxes on ladders, roller skates, skate-boards, fatty foot, sweets etc etc.


It's all gonna change massively gentlemen. Because the stranglehold on energy production has been destroyed. While the banking system may try to keep the old school fiefdom of control - there is little that will stop the growth of massive, low cost energy.

It is abundant throughout the universe and now on planet Earth.


We can argue politics all day, but in the end, we will have to pay the debt both parties have contributed to. The problem now is that Democrats don't want to restructure entitlements (recognizing the life expectancy has exteded by 20 years), and the republicans don't want to pay for the benefits their constituents get from our society. In other words, we all want to get to heaven, but no one wants to die.

Reel$$: I think you are overly optimistic, but I do believe we will soon reach a tipping point that will change everything -- in energy, the environment, and population. How things will change, no one knows.


Rather than tax the wealthy and the corporations, the Congress borrowed the money.

Richard Slay

"If we were to apply 'hidden' costs to everything as thse people suggest there would be taxes on ladders, roller skates, skate-boards, fatty foot, sweets etc etc."

Scott, we do have a hidden tax on all those things in the United States. It's called medical costs, and it's bankrupting us (we pay twice the GNP for medical costs as many other industrialized countries). Two of my four closest friends are essentially in medical bankruptcy, broke and stuck in jobs far below the productivity of jobs they've held in the past because they can't let go of their insurance. Since it's not in the interest of manufacturers of ladders, roller skates, sweets and many other things to educate us that those hidden costs exist IN THE LONG RUN, Americans go on with short term pleasure seeking, and the GNP gets a second boost when our sins very expensively catch up with us. But are we better off this way?

Richard Slay

SJC, one of the big differences between now and 1932 is oil prices. In 1932 prices were so low that the entire industry was fratriciding itself into bankruptcy, so the governors of TX and OK declared martial law, took over the oil fields, and created essentially the first OPEC to prop up prices at life-support levels. The very fact that happened disproves classical laissez-faire, because lower prices should have stimulated demand for all goods related to oil. But today any signs of economic recovery cause prices to skyrocket.

Read Daniel Yergin's "The Prize" for the extremely complicated and intimate relationship between the US and UK governments and Big Oil over the last 130 years (like the British Navy's ownership of what is now called BP). It's never been a free market.


Rasmussen poll also shows 93% of Americans believe large, bearded white guy lives in the clouds.


Shecky, the beard could be black.

JMartin, the tipping point has been avoided by artifice and that is now ending. We have the nation's most revered science agency, NASA's Chief Scientist openly acknowledging the existence for well on 20 years of Lattice Assisted Nuclear Reactions. The US Navy has led the R&D with their SPAWAR unit at NRL. This is no longer behind the curtain. And there are many many permutations on the horizon.

Tipping point is here. 10-25kW over-unity generators are in the labs and can be built from off the shelf parts. Yeah, a lot is going to change. The old school is going to lose control of energy. And poor people living a marginal existence across the globe are going to get fresh water, electricity and heat. Is there a problem here??


Didn't think so.


Richard Slay is my new favorite commenter on GCC.

Reel$$ is the usual comic relief. Rossi's E-CAT is a fraud, proven because Rossi won't allow independent tests of its alleged heat output (just measurement of the heat, not its radiation or other characteristics which might reveal its secrets). Reel$$ will be singing some other tune after Rossi goes down, but always with the implication that nothing needs to be done about AGW.

Henry Gibson

The promoter of JetBlue proposed figures that would support at least a $35 import duty on foreign oil, to make fuel production from natural gas and coal profitable always in the US even a ZERO dollars a barrel. ..HG..

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