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Examining the effects of gasoline prices on public support for climate policies


Successful implementation of climate policies requires public acceptability. Fuel prices may impact policy support. Here we examine this relationship by analysing retail gasoline prices and individual-level survey data from Italian and US metropolitan areas. We do not find a significant association between gasoline prices and support for funding renewable energy research, regulating CO2 emissions or requiring companies to pay carbon taxes. We do find that support for phasing out combustion-engine cars decreases when gasoline prices increase. In exploratory analyses, we find that lower-income and more liberal individuals reduce their support more as gasoline prices rise. Using an additional US nationally representative survey dataset, we find that higher gasoline prices are associated with lower support for environmental protection when it comes at the risk of curving economic growth. The negative effects of gasoline prices on climate policy support do not seem driven by reduced environmental concerns.

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Fig. 1: Association between gasoline prices and support for fossil fuel car phase-out by ideology.
Fig. 2: Association between gasoline prices and support for fossil fuel car phase-out by income.

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Data availability

The ICAPP data analysed in the current study are not currently publicly available due to ongoing unpublished analyses but are available from the authors upon reasonable request. The retail gasoline price data we used can be retrieved from the US Energy Information Administration ( for the United States and for Italy from the Italian Ministry of Environment and Energy security ( US state and regional employment data are available from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics ( and GDP data are available from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis ( Italian employment and quarterly GDP data from the National Statistics Institute (, The Gallup survey data we analysed are retrievable from the Gallup organization with an appropriate license. Data from Climate Change in the American Mind: National Survey Data on Public Opinion (2008–2022) is available at:

Code availability

The replication code used to produce the figures and analyses in this study is available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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This work was supported by the European Research Council under the European Community’s Programme ‘Ideas’—call identifier: ERC-2013-StG/ERC grant agreement number 336703—project RISICO ‘Risk and uncertainty in developing and implementing climate change policies’, by the cooperative agreement National Science Foundation (NSF) SES-1463122 awarded to the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, NSF grant, SES-2030800 ‘RAPID: Public Responses to Personal and Societal Risk: Attitudes and Behaviour on COVID-19 and Global Change’ and by generous support from the Global Thinking Foundation and GLC Charitable Trust. Additionally, this research is part of a project supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement number 870245.

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Authors and Affiliations



M.R.S. developed and oversaw the ICAPP survey data collection. M.R.S. and I.H.C. jointly conceptualized the study design; developed the analysis; collected, analysed and interpreted the data and wrote and edited the paper.

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Correspondence to Ireri Hernandez Carballo.

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Hernandez Carballo, I., Sisco, M.R. Examining the effects of gasoline prices on public support for climate policies. Nat Energy 9, 219–227 (2024).

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