Gas Pains – Congressmen Propose Tax Increase

For Immediate Release Contact: Mark Carpenter
March 18, 2003 (202) 467-5300


CCAGW Scolds “Tax-Guzzlers” Young and Oberstar

(Washington, D.C.) – The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today chided House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska) and ranking Democrat James Oberstar (Minn.) for their proposed 12-cent-per-gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax to take effect over the next six years.  This 65 percent increase in the gas tax over current levels would be used to help offset the costs of the transportation bill due this Spring.

“Increasing the gas tax by any amount, from its current level is simply outrageous,” CCAGW President Tom Schatz said.  “The tax-guzzling Transportation Committee is threatening any possibility of a balanced budget in the next decade.  With war in Iraq, a fiscal 2003 budget deficit of more than $250 billion before accounting for the costs of the war, and increased expenses for homeland security, there is no room for massive increases in any tax.  Only the highest national priorities should be funded right now.”

According to AAA, the current national average for regular unleaded, self-serve gasoline is $1.71 per gallon, up $.50 from a year ago.  In some parts of the country, people are paying more than $2.00 a gallon.  The rise in price is due to an uncertain Middle East situation, and striking oil workers in South America.

“In a staggering economy, raising any type of tax will only contribute to the downward spiral,” Schatz continued.  “Increasing the cost of gas will have a direct effect on every sector of the economy.  Consumers will not just be paying at the pump.  From vacation travel to the transportation of goods, there will be sharp increases in prices.”

If the proposed increase is approved, the federal gas tax will have risen 234 percent since 1987, when it stood at 9.1 cents per gallon.  In 1990, it was increased by 65 percent to 14.1 cents per gallon.  Currently, it stands at 18.4 cents after its last increase in 1997.  The Young/Oberstar proposal would cause the tax to reach 30.4 cents by 2009.

“Congress should find a creative method to funding the transportation bill or simply reduce its size, rather than relying on the easy solution of raising taxes,” Schatz concluded.  “They can start by prohibiting any pork from being included in the final bill.”

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation's largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.  For more information, please visit

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