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Press Release

Fifty-Six Diverse Groups, Millions of Citizens, Send One Message to Congress: Don't Raise the Federal Gas Tax!

For Immediate Release August 22, 2007
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700

(Alexandria, VA) -- "Don't you dare!" That's the defiant stance of 56 citizen groups representing millions of Americans toward proposals to increase the federal excise tax on gasoline. The coalition, which was organized by the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), delivered its message in an open letter sent today to Congress and the President.

"Proponents of a federal gas tax increase insist that few would even notice the change in their fuel bills," the letter stated. "In reality, a 5 cent-per-gallon jump would ... cost American motorists an estimated $25 billion over the next three years. Combined with state gas taxes, many motorists would pay over $7.50 in taxes for the average fill-up. This is a substantial burden on families ..."

The letter is a response to policymakers who, following the bridge tragedy in Minnesota, sought to exploit the opportunity to press for higher federal fuel taxes. House Transportation Committee Chair James Oberstar, for example, has discussed a plan to increase the gasoline tax "temporarily" by 5 cents per gallon. The groups gave several reasons to oppose such schemes:

  • Lack of money is not the problem. The 5-year Highway Bill enacted in 2005 represented a 42 percent spending increase over its predecessor, and contained over $20 billion in "earmarked" funds for parochial projects. The Fiscal Year 2008 Transportation Appropriations Bill continues this trend, with more than $2.2 billion in earmarks. Ironically, these two bills alone are laden with earmarked funding whose total would approach the revenue amount lawmakers now seek from a gas tax hike.
  • "Temporary" fuel taxes tend to take on lives of their own. The 5-cent-per-gallon increase backed by President George H.W. Bush 17 years ago has yet to vanish as originally intended. The 4.3-cent-per-gallon hike that President Bill Clinton signed into law 14 years ago was billed as a deficit reduction measure, but was later "re-purposed" to other programs once budget shortfalls began to taper off.
  • High energy costs make a gas tax hike especially difficult for families and small businesses to make ends meet.

The diverse list of signatories to the statement includes the National Grange, the Family Research Council, the Log Cabin Republicans, and the Islamic Free Market Institute. In addition to national-level citizen groups such as NTU, Americans for Prosperity, and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, grassroots organizations from over 20 states gave their endorsement to the open letter. Those groups hailed from California to Iowa to Virginia, and points in between.

"Instead of resorting so readily to tax hikes, Congress and the Executive Branch should conduct a review to determine which transportation projects are really worth funding and which are unnecessary," the letter concluded. "Elected officials should not be feeding more revenues into the gears of an ever-faster spending machine, and we urge you to oppose any federal gas tax hike."

NTU is a non-partisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes and smaller government. Note: The text of the open letter and a list of signatories are available at