Voters Oppose New Oil, Natural Gas Taxes

API survey shows respondents more concerned with economy, jobs

WASHINGTON -- Voters in 10 key states oppose higher taxes on America's oil and natural gas industry by a two-to-one margin, according to a new poll released by the American Petroleum Institute (API). Both the Obama administration and some members of Congress have recently proposed billions of dollars in new taxes on the industry.

"Voters know raising taxes on an industry that provides most of their energy and supports more than 9.2 million jobs would hurt them and damage the economy," said API president and CEO Jack Gerard. "Raising taxes doesn't address their major concern, [image-nocss] which is putting people back to work. The fact that the proposals are being pushed under the guise of addressing the oil spill in the Gulf doesn't make them any better. With 15 million people out of work, now is not the time to be imposing more taxes."

The poll, which was conducted by telephone by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute between July 15 and July 18, 2010, among 6,000 registered voters, found that 64% in the 10 states oppose an increase, including 46% of voters who strongly oppose. Only 27% support increasing taxes.

The poll found those surveyed believe the two most important issues for the federal government to address are the economy and job creation. This is in line with other national polls from Gallup, CBS News and Bloomberg.

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry is one of the nation's biggest taxpayers. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the industry paid almost $100 billion in federal income taxes in 2008 (latest available data). PriceWaterhouseCoopers said that the oil and natural gas industry had an effective average tax rate of 48.4% in 2009 compared with 28.1% for the rest of S&P industrial companies.

This study was conducted July 15-18 by telephone by Harris Interactive on behalf of API among 6,000 registered voters (600 per state) in Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maine, Missouri, Ohio and West Virginia, with an overall margin of error of +/- 2.5% at a 95% confidence level.