Gas Tax Hike Gets Quick "No" in DC


February 19, 2018


President Trump has joined the institutional voices suggesting raising the national fuels tax rates.  That would be a way of stabilizing the sagging Federal Highway Trust Fund and paying for some of the infrastructure initiative.  


The President suggested he would support a 25 cent per gallon increase in the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel.  That followed recent support for a fuels tax increase by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and earlier support from the trucking industry and various transportation organizations.


Key leaders in Congress reacted quickly voicing opposition to a fuels tax hike.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office indicated that Senate Republicans don’t support an increase.  Senator John Cornyn of Texas has said it simply is not going to happen.  Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa was also quoted as saying he did not think McConnell will let the gas tax go anywhere. 


Pennsylvania Congressman Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has encouraged Republicans to consider raising the gas tax as a way to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent over the long term.


Fuels taxes were not addressed in the Trump Administration’s recent infrastructure plan framework which focuses on incentives intended to push state and local governments to use new taxes, fees and revenue-backed debt to fund projects with a limited amount of new federal funding.
Voices across the spectrum of transportation advocates have welcomed the renewed national discussion of funding for highways and other infrastructure.


The U.S. Chamber estimates that a 25-cent increase in the fuels tax would raise an estimated $394 billion for transportation over 10 years.  The American Trucking Association has proposed a 20-cent per gallon fee an all fuels spread out incrementally over a four year period with a return of an estimated $340 billion over 10 years.


Federal gasoline and diesel fees have not been raised since 1993.  The state fuels tax rates in Texas have not been increased since 1991.