States and business advocates are maneuvering to use the current budget negotiations in Washington to win support for a long-sought increase in the federal gasoline tax—one of a grab bag of proposals various groups are seeking to tuck into a deal.

The White House and Congress are trying to craft a broad deficit-reduction deal to substitute for the so-called fiscal cliff, a $500 billion combination of tax increases and spending cuts set to begin Jan. 2. State highway officials and industries that stand to benefit from increased highway spending—including road builders and heavy-equipment makers—are among those pressing lawmakers to raise the 18.4-cent-a-gallon federal gasoline tax as part of an agreement.