51% of Americans Support a Mileage Fee if the Rate Varies by How Much the Vehicle Pollutes

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Results released from the Mineta Transportation Institute’s 15th annual national transportation tax survey
May 20, 2024
San José, CA

The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) has released the results from its 15th annual survey in a series that explores public support for raising transportation revenue through higher federal gas taxes or a new mileage fee. A majority of respondents (51%) supported replacing the federal gas tax with a mileage fee where the rate would vary according to the vehicle’s pollution emissions.

“Public support for a mileage fee depends on the details of how the fee is structured,” explained study co-author Asha Weinstein Agrawal, PhD. “More than half of respondents supported not only the pollution-rate mileage fee but also a new ‘Business Road-Use Fee’ that would be charged to delivery and freight trucks (58%) or to taxis and ride-hailing vehicles (53%). By contrast, the least popular mileage fee option was a flat-rate fee on all travel. Support for this option was only 39%.”


* The rate varies according to how much pollution the vehicle emits.


“We have also seen support for implementing a mileage fee on all travel increase over time,” said study co-author Hilary Nixon, PhD. “Support for the flat-rate mileage fee grew from just 22% in 2010 to 39% in 2024. Similarly, support for the pollution-rate version grew from 33% in 2010 to 51% in 2024.” 

The survey also found that the majority of respondents supported lower mileage-fee rates for low-income drivers: almost two-thirds (64%) supported this option. 

The survey also assessed public knowledge about federal gas taxes and support for the idea of raising the federal gas tax rate by 10 cents per gallon. Key findings include:

  • Only 2% of respondents knew that the federal gas tax rate has not been raised in more than 20 years.

  • Almost three-quarters of respondents supported raising the gas tax rate if the revenue would be dedicated to maintaining streets and highways (74% support). In contrast, far fewer respondents supported the same gas tax increase if the revenue were spent for undefined “transportation” purposes.

  • Support for raising the federal gas tax has risen since 2010. 

The survey data for this study was collected from a nationally representative sample of 2,522 adults living in the United States. Respondents completed the online survey in February and March of 2024.



At the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University (SJSU) our mission is to increase mobility for all by improving the safety, efficiency, accessibility, and convenience of our nations’ transportation system. Through research, education, workforce development and technology transfer, we help create a connected world. Founded in 1991, MTI is a university transportation center funded by the US Department of Transportation, the California Department of Transportation, and public and private grants, including those made available by the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB1). MTI is affiliated with SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

Asha Weinstein Agrawal, PhD
, is Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute’s National Transportation Finance Center. Hilary Nixon, PhD, is Deputy Executive Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute.


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