A Deakin University report suggested a 10c-a-litre fuel hike to encourage Australians to get out of the car and onto public transport while curbing obesity-related health issues and saving $34.2 million in health costs.
But how would this look in Canberra, a car-dominated city with limited public transport?
University of Canberra transport economist Cameron Gordon said a small fuel hike would only see a modest uptake in public transport use.
Mr Gordon said the tax would be more effective when Canberra's light rail network came online.
"An increase in transit usage relative to fuel prices is actually higher for rail so you have a bigger impact when you have a rail system," Mr Gordon said.
"The thing that Canberra lacks, as you know, is transport alternatives."
"If you had good transit then, you know, you'd still have a pretty modest increase in transit usage but, and this is the big caveat, you do need capacity."
Mr Gordon referred to Australian studies that found a 10 per cent petrol price increase would increase public transport use by up to 2.2 per cent.
Canberra's light rail network would need to access more points and be reinforced by a more reliable and frequent bus system for the tax to really be effective.
Canberra's spread out nature, and the amount of people who commute into the capital from the nearby region, meant driving would still be more time efficient for most people.
"You say we're going to put this increase in and we're going to invest in transit, I think that would be a good idea," Mr Gordon said.
University of Canberra geographer Vincent Learnihan recently coauthored a paper on walkability with biostatistician Dr Yan Yu, finding areas of Canberra where walkability was higher saw fewer hospital admissions.
They also found 80 per cent of Canberra's suburbs were car dependent.
"It's [a fuel tax rise] not going to help people really make that choice because they're going to have to use their car," Mr Learnihan said.
Mr Learnihan said money raised from the tax should be bookmarked for infrastructure like footpaths, bike paths and public transport.
"The investment in Canberra really needs to look at the suburbs," Mr Learnihan said.
Mr Learnihan said programs were needed to encourage people to use active transport, with research showing people still made even short trips by car.
The Deakin university report's lead author Vicki Brown said their research showed middle-aged adults who commute via active transport, such as public transport, walking, cycling, had a lower BMI than those who drove.
"Our 'plausible scenario' estimate of $34.2 million in health savings doesn't take into account other potential costs, including personal costs – parking, tolls, and travel-time – as well as public savings – decongestion and environmental benefits."
Ms Brown said the tax could potentially raise $1.7 billion nationally and would have to be part of a range of measures to curb obesity in Australia.
A recent Australian Automobile Association report found Canberrans' transport costs were the third highest in the country.