Would eliminating the fuel tax do more to decrease carbon emissions than raising it?

The subject line tells all.

The subject line asks… it does not tell.

Make your case, please.


Yeah! This sounds totally counterintuitive.

Fuel tax or Carbon tax?

No it wouldn’t

If you eliminate the fuel tax, the price of fuel will drop causing more people to purchase fuel and drive their vehicles. So no, I do not believe it would decrease carbon emissions. Also you open the rats nest of where are we getting funding for road repair and maintenance when you remove the tax that funds it.

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Hard to beat the triple benefit of a gas tax…

  1. It is a “use tax” for the upkeep of the roads paid by those that use the roads more and the people who drive heavier vehicles, both pay more.
  2. Allows the freedom of choice; Those that choose the Escalade, choose to pay more. If they don’t want to pay as much, the Prius can be their choice.
  3. Encourages people to drive more fuel efficient vehicles… The driver chooses the hybrid version of the SUV rather than the standard to pay less at the pump or chooses an EV.

All these are in the direction of less consumption of fuel which means less CO2 output from the tailpipe.


Europe went the opposite direction, imposing taxes so high that most people can’t afford large vehicles. It seems to work. Vehicles are smaller than in the US and they have smaller engines than we do.

Another problem is where to find the lost federal and state funds for road upkeep and improvements. The gap between federal expenditures and income is immense as it is. Deleting the fuel tax only makes a bad situation worse.

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Sorry but an extra 20 cents or whatever the tax is makes no difference to me in the fuel I use. It has already gone up over a dollar. Yes there is a break point, but not 20 cents.

as of 2019, PA had the 2nd highest petrol and diesel tax rates in the US 58.7 cents per gallon for Petrol and 75.2 cents per gallon for diesel. My Camry has I think an 18 gallon tank so 15 gallons is $8.81 in taxes. Not budget breaking for me, but we have a lot of folks still unemployed or under employed, so it would make a difference for them. Plus PA has some of the worst roads in the country…without the fuel tax I can imagine how much worse they would get if they didn’t have that revenue for maintenance and repairs.

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That’s not true. Fuel prices at the pump are not affected directly by the tax. The tax is only a very small factor in fuel prices. The price is determined by supply and demand. The tax may cause the fuel producers to adjust the supply in an effort to regain their loss due to tax, but they can’t adjust it very much.

Oil companies do not make a profit on gasoline, they actually lose money on the gas, BUT they have to dispose of it somehow and since it is considered a hazardous waste, the cost of disposal is very very high. Also hazardous waste disposal carries a life of product responsibility in perpetuity, so if something happens down the road, the company is still responsible.

The cheapest way to get rid of it is to sell it to someone else, even at a loss. The oil companies make a lot of money on the other products from a barrel of oil so lowering production hurts their bottom line. They have to process all those barrels of oil to make money so they end up with a lot of that hazardous waste they need to get rid of.

Within a set of parameters, the tax has almost no effect on the price you pay for gas. If it tax gets too high, then since every manufacturer has to pay it, it could become significant, but I believe that if the tax were raised to a dollar a gallon, it might prevent gas from ever dropping below about $2.50 a gallon, but when the average price is above that, it would hurt the oil companies more than it would hurt us. They make enough anyway so I wont lose any sleep over that.

The extra tax generated if used responsibly to improve roads and bridges would mean smoother traffic flow so less gas would be wasted and more jobs generated that can’t be outsourced to China. There are people with PHD’s and mega computers that can determine the optimum tax, but the Feds wont use them, politics gets in the way.

Where I live in Canada the price of crude oil going into the refineries is about the same as in the US.

The pump price for regular gas where I live is about $1.18 per liter or $4.48 per US gallon due to various taxes and levies. All over the world governments use taxation of various fuels to either reduce consumption and/or raise revenue.

I took a plant tour in Saudi Arabia once and was surprised it took only the equivalent of $12US to fill the tank of a large bus. Not much tax there.

When crude oil sold for $1.65 per barrel, the price of gas in France was already $0.85 per liter.
Cheap gas calls for more roads to be built necessitating the need for other taxes. Ideally gas taxes should only cover road building and maintenance.

Fuel tax affects the poor more than the rich. I do not know the answer, just an observation.


Fuel taxes is a direct add to gas price, drop the taxes, the price drops. You can prove this by comparing prices as you cross states lines where the taxes differ. And gas is a high value component of oil, far from a waste stream.

Taxes have a major impact on consumption. That’s why European cars typically have much better fuel economy.

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More than 15 percent of the cost at the point of sale in my state. People complain about a 25 cent increase. The tax is 51 cents. I can’t call that a small factor.

Supply and demand is not tne only factor, price sensitivity is also a factor. When gas was over $4 a gallon, car buyers shifter to smaller vehicles. When the price dropped back under $3, big truck and SUV sales came roaring back.

Just a comment… Random Troll is living up to his name

Drop a question and see what happens…


Nothing against it but he also rides his bike more than driving his truck. Some here also just take the bus or don’t drive at all. I saw the neighbor trying out his segway a couple days ago. No tax at all but he’ll need snow tires soon.

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A Segway… haven’t seen one of those for a while.

If you don’t buy gas or diesel, you don’t have any skin in this game. You are freeloading off the petrol burners for your bike and bus infrastucture.

Strange fact: The owner of the company after Dean Kamen sold it, died while riding a Segway.

That’s the point: if you don’t collect the tax, you don’t fund what it pays for, thus making driving even more expensive than driving on well-funded roads. It’s long been observed that building highways creates more traffic.


It’s called a discussion.

People aren’t poor because they don’t have money, they don’t have money because they’re poor.

People careful of their spending can adjust their behavior to minimize costs, even of taxes. Taxes can fund transportation to inure to the benefit of too-little-money persons.

What no tire chains?

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