Instead of removing the gas tax - subsidize alternative transportation - Sightline Institute
How much are gas taxes? Most people don't know.
So let’s give clear, meaningful transportation subsidies instead.
A recent surge in gas prices has prompted state and federal legislators in the United States to propose suspending the gas tax. But if consumers didn’t hear about it on the news, would they even notice?
Governments collect gas taxes from a small number of fuel distributors, not directly from drivers. That means consumers often have no idea how much they’re paying back into the transportation system when they fuel up. In that void of information, imagination abounds, as illustrated by a 2019 survey of participants in a Washington State pilot project for a gas tax alternative. When asked to estimate their annual state gas tax expenditure, only one in five participants came within 10 percent of the calculated cost. 55 percent of respondents underestimated their gas taxes by more than 10 percent. The other 24 percent overestimated, sometimes by huge margins: