Voters strongly believe the government can do something to lower rising gas prices, but they have mixed feelings about dropping the federal gas tax.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 44% of American Adults say the government should eliminate the federal gasoline tax until prices at the pump come down. But 35% disagree and say the government should not eliminate this tax. Twenty-one percent are not sure.
In early April 2008, the last time gas prices soared, 60% of Americans believed the federal tax on gasoline should be suspended until prices went down.
The federal excise tax on gasoline is 18.4 cents per gallon for regular.
With gas prices nearing record highs, an overwhelming majority (67%) believe the government has the power to lower these prices in the short-term. Fourteen percent don’t share that assessment, and 19% are undecided. The question did not specify what kinds of things the government might be able to do.
Thirty percent of Americans, however, blame government regulations for the high gas prices. Thirty-four percent (34%) say oil speculators, those who buy and sell large quantities of oil on international markets, are more to blame. Sixteen percent (16%) say the unrest in the Middle East is the chief cause of the high prices. Thirteen percent think something else is to blame.
The survey of 1,000 adults nationwide was conducted on April 30-May 1, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research LLC.
Women favor temporarily dropping the gas tax more than men do. Adults who earn less than $40,000 like that idea more than those with higher incomes.
Investors are less confident than non-investors that the government can do something in the short term to lower gas prices. Fifty-three percent of non-investors support temporary elimination of the federal gas tax, but investors are narrowly divided on the question.
While 55% of Republicans believe the government should eliminate the federal gas tax until prices come down, just 39% of both Democrats and adults not affiliated with either political party agree. But two-out-of-three adults in all three groups share the belief that the government can do something to lower gas prices in the short term.
Fifty percent of Republicans think government regulations are to blame for high gas prices, compared to 16% of Democrats and 21% of unaffiliateds. Democrats and unaffiliated adults tend to blame speculators.