Virginia lawmakers, Gov. Youngkin continue debate on best relief for gas prices

Gas Prices
Posted at 2:29 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 04:46:42-04

NORFOLK, Va. - State lawmakers and Gov. Glenn Youngkin continue to debate the best way to provide relief from pain at the pump.

Virginia House Democrats have now proposed sending car owners $50 rebate payments or up to $100 per household if there are multiple drivers. Their proposal is an alternative to Gov. Youngkin's proposal to suspend the state's gas tax.

"Unlike the plan proposed by Governor Youngkin and supported by Republican members of the General Assembly, the House Democratic plan will send funds directly to Virginia drivers and at less than one third of the cost," the Democrats said in a statement.

Gov. Youngkin has worked with Republican lawmakers to introduce emergency legislation that would suspend the state's 26-cent gas tax during the months of May, June and July.

"It will really save Virginians money because we're going to take 26 cents off of every gallon and that money goes to Virginians," he told News 3 last week.

Democrats have criticized his proposal, saying it would take away money needed for construction projects and now are moving forward with their own proposal.

Old Dominion University economist Dr. Robert McNab says cutting the gas tax would have a larger impact on drivers.

"If you want simplicity and immediate action, then cutting the gas tax is the way to go," he said.

Right now, gas prices in Virginia continue to fall from what they were in March. In Hampton Roads, the average for a gallon of regular gas is $3.97, according to AAA. That's down from $4.06 last week and $4.27 a month ago.

In Maryland, the state suspended its 36-cent tax last month and the average gas price is lower there compared to Virginia, according to AAA.

In response to the Democrats' proposal, a spokesperson for Gov. Youngkin said, "The governor appreciates that Democrats are finally realizing the impact rising costs are having on Virginians, but their new brainchild does nothing to lower gas prices and is ripe for fraud."

A House of Delegates Committee is scheduled to take up the gas tax legislation next week.