This report explores public opinion on a new and promising concept—green transportation taxes and fees. These are taxes and fees set at variable rates, with higher rates for more polluting vehicles and lower rates for those that pollute less. This approach to transportation taxes and fees adapts the traditional transportation finance system to achieve two critical public benefits at once: encouraging drivers to choose more environmentally-friendly transportation options and raising revenue for needed transportation programs. To test public support for green transportation taxes and fees, the authors conducted a random telephone survey of 1,500 Californians that asked respondents their views on five hypothetical tax and fee options: a flat-rate and a green vehicle registration fee, a flat-rate and a green mileage fee, and a “feebate” program for new vehicle purchases under which more-polluting vehicles would be charged a tax and less-polluting vehicles would receive a rebate. The survey results show that the concept of green transportation taxes and fees strongly appeals to Californians. The survey tested this in two ways: by testing support for the three hypothetical green transportation tax and fee policies, and also by comparing support levels for flat-rate versus green versions of two taxes. Majorities of the respondents supported all three green taxes and fees tested. Another striking finding from the survey is that support for the green taxes and fees did not vary greatly by population subgroups; a diverse range of Californians supported the green taxes and fees. An analysis comparing support for the green and flat-rate vehicle registration fee and feebate proposals confirmed that in every subgroup, more people within that subgroup supported the green than the flat version of the two taxes tested.
Asha Weinstein Agrawal, Jennifer Dill, and Hilary Nixon. "Green Transportation Taxes and Fees: A Survey of Californian" Mineta Transportation Institute (2009).