The government should use money from fuel duty to cut the price of public transport, according to a group of MPs.
The Environmental Audit Committee said that ring-fencing the money would help build trust in green taxation.
"The Treasury needs to stop giving green taxes a bad name," said Joan Walley, who chairs the committee.
"Recent budgets have created the perception that environmental taxes are simply being used to pinch extra pennies from people."
The committee said that green taxes "cannot be all stick and no carrots" and it called for simple links to be made between taxing things that pollute and investing in more environmentally friendly alternatives.
Using fuel duty to cut the rising fares on buses and trains was given as a straightforward example.
The committee has published a report on the environmental impact of the Budget.
It criticised the decision to cut a penny from fuel duty while doing nothing to increase incentives to use less polluting alternatives.
It also said that the proposed changes to air passenger duty would not cut emissions.
The BBC's environment analyst Roger Harrabin said public cynicism about so-called green taxes has been growing since they were introduced by the Conservative government in 1993.
But he said it was only in their last budget that Labour decided to call petrol duty a plain money-raising tax rather than a green tax.