Gas Tax Changes In Maryland and Virginia Could Affect Where Commuters Buy their Gas

Even though 94 percent of Marylanders think it is important to maintain and improve the state’s transportation system, 73 percent are against a gas tax increase of 10 cents, according to a poll released this week by Gonzales Research and Marketing Strat

Capital News Service

Marcellus Davis, who drives from Waldorf to his job as a facilities manager in Arlington, Va., every day, buys his gas near his Maryland home.

“I wouldn’t say it’s cheaper, but it’s probably about the same,” Davis said, of the difference in gas prices between Maryland and Virginia.

But Virginia is considering repealing its 17.5-cent tax, while Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr. wants to increase Maryland’s 23.5-cent tax, which may make some interstate commuters decide to fill up in Virginia instead of Maryland.

Davis for one, would buy his gas in Virginia if a gas tax increase in Maryland or the proposed repeal in Virginia occurred.

“Look at how much money I spend on my commute. It's $130 or so a week,” Davis said.

The current average cost of gas in Maryland is $3.38 per gallon, while Virginia’s is $3.25, according to the American Automobile Association’s daily fuel gauge report.

Davis is one of more than 132,000 Maryland residents who commutes to a job in Virginia, according to a report compiled from 2010 Census data created by the Maryland State Data Center.

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell proposed two weeks ago that the state’s gasoline tax be repealed. This week, Miller said he plans to introduce legislation by Monday that would raise the gas tax in Maryland.

The increase, part of a multi-pronged approach, would go toward funding Maryland’s Transportation Trust Fund.

But an increase in the gas tax is not popular with Maryland residents. Even though 94 percent of Marylanders think it is important to maintain and improve the state’s transportation system, 73 percent are against a gas tax increase of 10 cents, according to a poll released this week by Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies, Inc.

An increase in the tax is also unpopular with some gas station owners.

Huong Ngo, who has owned Seabrook Citgo in Lanham for 23 years, doubts that Virginia repealing its gas tax would have much of an effect on where commuters buy their gas. However, he is worried about a gas tax increase in Maryland.

“It will cause the business to drop and gas is already too expensive,” Ngo said. Ngo is a member of the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Delaware Service Station and Auto Repair Association and has helped petition against the gas tax before.

The association’s Director of Member Relations Kirk McCauley is also concerned about an increase in the tax.

“It would be a disaster for Maryland gas stations,” McCauley said. “Even Maryland thinking about raising their tax doesn’t make sense when border states are cheaper.”

There is no question in Miller’s mind that a gas tax hike in Maryland, or a repeal of the gas tax in Virginia, would affect where Maryland to Virginia commuters buy their gas.

“(Maryland residents) already go there for their cigarettes and guns,” Miller said.

But he supports an increase.

“We depend on revenue from the gas tax,” Miller said.

Maryland’s gas tax goes towards paying for the maintenance of roads and infrastructure, as well as the building of new roads.

Miller outlined his multifaceted approach to fixing the problem of transportation funding this week, saying he would consider leasing or selling the Intercounty Connector, making taxes on Metrorail regional and raising the state’s wholesale gas tax.

“It would be 3 cents and raise approximately $300 million,” Miller said.

JoeSmith January 24, 2013 at 02:40 PM
So, Mr. Davis doesn't see thirteen cents to be a significant difference between prices? Filling up in Maryland is 4% more than in Virginia. Calculate that over a year, and he's dealing with a significant cost increase. He's just the type of voter Owe'Malley and Miller are couting on to just absorb the price increase and drive merrily on their way.
Ed January 24, 2013 at 10:50 PM
On the other hand, gas is cheaper in Maryland than in PA (and their gas tax I think is just 1 cent higher than ours) AND they have crappy roads to boot.
TTown January 27, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Mike Miller said a year ago Marylanders need to stop complaining and let the government help themselves. Apparently citizens of MD are competent enough to vote. But do not have enough intelligence to question our politicians? I can not stand this guy. Millar and Omalley are driving people and businesses out of this state. Northern VAs home values have been steadily increasing for the last year. MDs are still falling. Why? Because people are moving away from this state. One thing out politicians forget is MD is a small state surrounded by states with very different values. Most citizens can pack up move to va, pa, de or even Wva. All of which have more favorable taxes and still be close to family friends and jobs.


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