What Do Americans Think About Federal Tax Options to Support Transportation? Results from Year Fifteen of a National Survey

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What Do Americans Think About Federal Tax Options to Support Transportation? Results from Year Fifteen of a National Survey


This report summarizes the results from the fifteenth year of a national public opinion survey asking U.S. adults questions related to their views on federal transportation taxes. A nationally representative sample of 2,522 respondents completed the online survey from February 7 to March 12, 2024. The questions test public opinions about raising the federal gas tax rate, replacing the federal gas tax with a new mileage fee, and imposing a mileage fee just on commercial travel. In addition to asking directly about support for these tax options, the survey collected data on respondents’ views on the quality of their local transportation system, their priorities for federal transportation spending, their knowledge about gas taxes, their views on privacy and equity matters related to mileage fees, travel behavior, and sociodemographic characteristics. Key findings include that large majorities supported transportation improvements across modes and wanted to see the federal government work towards making the transportation system well maintained, safe, and equitable, as well as to reduce the system’s impact on climate change. Findings related to gas taxes include that only 2% of respondents knew that the federal gas tax rate had not been raised in more than 20 years, and 74% of respondents supported increasing the federal gas tax by 10 cents per gallon if the revenue would be dedicated to maintenance. With respect to mileage fees, several options tested received support from more than half of respondents. Also, the majority of respondents supported variable mileage fee rate structure options; 62% preferred charging low-income drivers a reduced mileage fee rate, and 52% preferred charging electric vehicles at a lower rate than gas and diesel vehicles. The analysis of trends across the survey series, which has run annually from 2010 to 2024, shows that support for both higher gas taxes and a hypothetical new mileage fee has risen slowly but steadily.

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Dr. Agrawal is the Director of the MTI National Transportation Finance Center and also Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at San José State University. Her research and teaching interests in transportation policy and planning include transportation finance, bicycle and pedestrian planning, travel survey methods, and transportation history. She earned a BA in Folklore and Mythology from Harvard University, an MSc in Urban and Regional Planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.


Dr. Nixon is Deputy Executive Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute and a faculty member in the MS Transportation Management program at San José State University. She specializes in transportation and environmental planning and policy, and her research focuses primarily on the factors that influence pro-environmental behavior and the relationship between transportation and the environment. She earned a BA from the University of Rochester and a PhD in Planning, Policy and Design from the University of California, Irvine.

May 2024
Transportation taxes
Transportation fees
Public opinion
Gasoline tax
Mileage fees
Highway user taxation
User charges



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