Gas tax: Why Virginians pay less at the pump


Virginia residents don't pay as much for gasoline as their neighbors in the Mid-Atlantic, and there's a rather simple explanation.

"The key reason is that Virginia's gas tax is lower than almost everywhere else in the country," says AAA Mid-Atlantic analyst Windy VanCuren.

The 17.5-cent-per-gallon Old Dominion gas-tax rate, unchanged since 1986, is lower than the rates in neighboring states, including North Carolina, with 23.4 cents per gallon tax, and Maryland, where the rate is 23.5 cents a gallon. Pennsylvania residents pay 25.9 cents tax per gallon.

Wisconsin has the highest gas tax, 31.1 cents per gallon.

This is how, then, it is that the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Virginia just last week shot past the $2 mark. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in the Commonwealth was at $2.03 while the national average was $2.11 a gallon.

"Another of the key reasons is the cost of living statewide is lower than in other states," VanCuren said.

In the one area of the state where the cost of living is a bit out of control, Northern Virginia, the average price was at $2.14 per gallon, 11 cents higher than the state average.

Richmond's average price per gallon of regular unleaded was $2.04. In the Hampton Roads area the price was slightly below the average, at $2.02 per gallon, VanCuren said.

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