The main objective of this paper is to provide additional empirical evidence of what explains respondent uncertainty in contingent valuation (CV) and how this in turn affects stated willingness to pay (WTP). Air travelers asked to pay a carbon travel tax to offset carbon emissions from flying were asked how likely it is that they will actually pay if the tax is voluntary. When changing the market compliance imperative from a mandatory carbon tax to a voluntary contribution, a third of all air travelers consider it unlikely they will actually pay their stated WTP amount. An ordered probit estimation approach is applied to identify the sources of respondent uncertainty. Besides the bid price, respondent sense of responsibility and belief in the effectiveness of the voluntary carbon market are among the main reasons for the experienced uncertainty. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.