Bay Area Drivers Would Support Global Warming Gas Tax

A surprising poll shows that Bay Area residents -- who already pay the nation's highest gas prices -- would agree to a 25-cent gas tax if revenue were applied to reduce global warming. Efforts are underway to put that support to a vote.

"Would Bay Area residents, already saddled with the highest gas prices in the country, be willing to pay a 25-cent fee on a gallon of gas if the money were spent to reduce the effects of global warming? According to a new poll, the answer is an unresounding "yes."

"Preliminary findings indicate that Bay Area residents were "mostly willing to pay 25 cents more" (but opposed 50 cents) for a gallon of gas "if it would be used to limit or reduce global warming," according to a recent telephone poll commissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

The residents also indicated they would want the additional revenue from such an increase to go toward providing more transit services and research into alternative fuels and cleaner engines, according to the memo".

"This poll question goes into a whole new territory in asking about climate change," said MTC spokesman John Goodwin, indicating that "the poll's purpose was to "gauge public attitudes" as the agency moves forward with its next 25-year regional transportation plan."

"According to reports, the most recent survey of gas prices across the country - released Nov. 4 - indicated San Francisco had the most expensive gas in the U.S. at $3.28 per gallon."


From Oakland Tribune:

"Both MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments last week challenged area leaders to support an aggressive system to curb greenhouse gas emissions that included congestion fees and parking surcharges for driving in urban areas during peak hours to raise money and prod commuters toward public transit.

By far the most controversial proposal was a "carbon tax" on gasoline to both help area roadways' cash-starved maintenance programs and cut back on the number of miles traveled by area motorists." [See Planetizen related link].

"MTC staff is recommending, in a draft legislative program to be presented to the panel's Legislative Committee Friday, (Nov. 9) that commissioners seek state legislation "to amend our existing authority to levy a road user fee" on gasoline, requiring only a bare majority at the ballot box."


From BBC:

While an international poll shows that people are ready to change their lifestyles to reduce global warming, "opinion was split over tax rises on oil and coal - 44% against, 50% in favour...However, when people opposed to energy taxes were asked whether their opinion would change if the revenue from the taxes were used to increase energy efficiency or develop cleaner fuel, large majorities in every country were in favour of higher taxes."

Thanks to Bob Maginnis

Full Story: Alms for the environment?



So much contradiction

A previous article says new taxes (gasoline or carbon) are politically unpopular so we have to have new planning oversight to make sure we increase density so people drive less in the future. Now, this article says people would be willing to pay extra taxes on gasoline. I hope people will just quit looking to surveys to find out what "society" wants. With so many errors in survey methodology and the lack of real trade-offs, it's really a tool to advocate what you want.

Pricing is far more cost-effective than these other proposed "solutions". Pricing is simpler, faster, and more effective than to watch MTC and ABAG try to figure out how to increase density during the next 50 years to reduce auto use 20% or whatever miniscule amount it will be. Pricing will signal the market to find the best combination of "solutions" to achieve less pollution or CO2 or methane or whatever. The command and control approach predetermines a path and one that is usually "politically popular" which almost by definition, means ineffective. Translation - people will vote for it because they don't readily see the need to change their behavior, which is precisely what you are trying to do.

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95

Wear your city with style!

100% silk scarves feature detailed city maps. Choose from five cities with red or blue trim.
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95