Dave Hamilton, director of global energy programs for the Sierra Club, the environmental organization, said there is a logical connection between using higher gas taxes to pay for road construction.
"There's probably no better way to target the beneficiaries of road expenditures than to raise the gas tax," Hamilton said. "The rising price of gas is reflecting the real cost of driving, so we are accounting for the economical and environmental cost of driving."
As for the idea of lowering the gas tax -- even temporarily -- Hamilton said there is no guarantee prices would actually be lower at the pump.
"Who says the oil companies or the distributors or the refiners are actually going to pass [the savings] on," he said.
Typically, the higher the price of something, the less people buy of it. With gas, that is not always the case; people do use less gas but not significantly less.
"You get a lot of anger, but you don't get a lot of changed behavior," Hamilton said. "The integration of transportation-at-will is very complete in both the American society and psyche."
So will the American public be hearing calls for a higher gas tax anytime soon?
"The political appeal candidates have found in lowering gas taxes," Hamilton said, "is much more indicative of where the political current is than the idea that we're going to inflict so much pain on the American public that they will have to drive less."