"Pumping Gas" by Micheal Kappel is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. https://www.flickr.com/photos/m-i-k-e/7015810587/in/photolist-bFXS4v-ox6iD7-8LvDC-p5DiD-6mtEY6-8yGuqB-8yKAcL-2aXYuo-8yKzbA-8yGuUz-21z9Sk-rBE-2bfeG-5bU11S-GJGGo-2hmRRxV-9iNCx9-354GRo-2mzK5t1-UkuWyC-6tPdyJ-zwLvz-9eVPBK-2k5FGgf-Vnz96A-fL5YdV-ozohZr-nYQhHg-5F

Voters overwhelmingly believe that the two energy taxes included in Democrats’ reconciliation bill will increase energy prices and home heating costs. According to a new poll by HarrisX, 66 percent of voters believe these energy taxes will increase energy costs, compared to just 12 percent of voters who do not think it will increase costs.

Within Democrats’ “Build Back Better” bill are two new energy taxes – one on methane emissions from natural gas production and one on crude oil production.  

One provision of the bill imposes a 16.4 cents per barrel tax on crude oil and petroleum products beginning in 2022, a $12.77 billion tax. This tax would be pegged to inflation, meaning the tax would be increased automatically every year without Congress ever having to vote again.  

The second provision is an $8 billion energy tax on natural gas production that would be phased in, beginning at $900/ton of methane emissions in 2023 and rising to $1,500/ton for emissions reported in 2025. 

The poll was conducted between November 29 – December 1 among 1,848 registered voters. The sampling margin of error of this poll is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points and results reflect a nationally representative sample of registered voters. 

Respondents were asked the following:   

Congress has proposed two new energy taxes – one on methane emissions from natural gas production and one on crude oil production. Do you think these taxes will be passed onto consumers and small businesses in the form of higher energy prices and home heating costs or not? 

66 percent of respondents said they believed these taxes would be passed onto consumers and small businesses in the form of higher energy costs, while just 12 percent said that the taxes would not be passed on.  

This consensus remained consistent amongst key demographics including: 

  • 74 percent of Republicans 
  • 64 percent of Democrats 
  • 62 percent of independents 
  • 65 percent of Biden voters 
  • 76 percent of male voters 
  • 58 percent of female voters 
  • 77 percent of voters with 4+ years of post-high school education 
  • 67 percent of suburban voters 
  • 68 percent of rural voters 

These proposals come at a time when gasoline prices have increased 49.6 percent in the past 12 months, 6.1 percent in October alone. Americans are facing average gas prices of $3.49 per gallon, marking 12 straight months of rising gas prices and the highest retail gas prices since August of 2014. 

This winter, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that Americans will be paying 30 percent more for natural gas, 43 percent more for heating oil, 6 percent more for electricity, and 54 percent more for propane. If the weather is colder than normal, Americans could be paying even more.  

Inevitably, imposing new energy taxes will exacerbate this problem.  

Energy taxes are extremely regressive, given that higher costs disproportionately hurt low-income families. Thus, these tax hikes are clear violations of President Biden’s pledge not to raise any form of tax on anyone making less than $400,000 per year. Officials within the administration have repeatedly admitted taxes that raise consumer energy prices are in violation of the pledge. 

Already, low-income families are struggling because of rising costs nationwide. According to a new Gallup poll, 71 percent of low-income households have reported experiencing financial hardship due to rising prices. Of the 71 percent, 28 percent of low-income households say they have experienced “severe hardship” due to rising prices, and 42 percent say they have experienced “moderate hardship.”

Instead of helping solve Americans’ real and tangible problems, the Biden administration and congressional Democrats seem willing to exacerbate them to fund a bill packed with earmarks, wasteful spending, and special interest giveaways.