Auckland motorists are fuming over a regional fuel tax set out in Mayor Phil Goff's proposed 10-year budget.
Council officials said the tax, which has been agreed to by the Government, would likely be set out at 10c a litre plus GST taking the cost for motorists to 11.5c.
It would raise $130 million to $150m, which would go towards easing congestion, improving the housing crisis and reducing sewage pouring into the region's harbours.
The tax would also allow Goff to remove an interim transport levy of $114 set three years ago, set a general rates increase of 2.5 per cent and introduce targeted rates on improving water quality.
But Aucklanders frustrated at the idea of the tax are slamming Auckland Council for imposing a "tax upon a tax" and claiming Goff is simply using the tax to disguise a rates increase.
Several readers emailing the Herald about the tax pointed out petrol already had GST.
"How many times can you milk this cow?" asked one reader. Another said it "defeated the purpose of a standard GST".
Several people were also concerned about the flow-on effect the tax might have on the cost of public transport and even goods such as food.
"Everybody is ignoring the fact that it is not just motorists who will be affected by the proposed fuel tax. It is going to increase the cost of bus operators; carrying operators etc so will mean that there will be increases in the cost of goods at site of purchase eg supermarkets," they wrote.
A lot of people also expressed concerns about how the tax might affect Aucklanders already struggling financially.
"It will hit the least able to afford it," one person said.
"Petrol is already ridiculously expensive, to the point we had already budgeted for one car to try and reduce our use of vehicles. This will push us out of the city and away from our families," another Aucklander wrote.
A slim group of readers supported the idea of the tax, hoping it would encourage people to move to public transport or electric vehicles.
One reader said Aucklanders had to pay for the infrastructure "inadequacies" caused by poor planning by past councils.
"As a result of the lack of planning and action the chickens have come home to roost and now Auckland is expecting taxpayers to stump with the money," he wrote.
Others were more positive, predicting discouraging driving alongside incentives for alternatives like cycling would make a cleaner, healthier city.
"Tax us more but then at least get the cycle paths working so we can cycle to work," they said.
A concern expressed by many readers was that it would increase the cost of living for the average Aucklander but wouldn't traffic issues.
"I cannot carpool as no one I work with does the same route. I do the round trip six times every nine days. There is no transport unless I use multiple routes," he reasoned.
The Automobile Association has estimated the petrol tax will cost motorists an extra $125 a year. This equates to a rates rise of about 9 per cent.
Goff said the proposed budget would increase transport spending from $7.9 billion to $11b over the next 10 years. A chunk of this funding would go towards the $3.4b City Rail Link and transport improvements.
The proposed budget will be tabled at a governing meeting today.