Is DMV Hiding 26% of Virginia’s Fuel Tax?

DMV Table.  Missing is the additional 7.6 cents per gallon collected in every county and city as a “wholesale tax” but still passed on to consumers. Oversight?

By Steve Haner

The Division of Motor Vehicles website is not honestly reporting fuel taxes in Virginia on that table above. This cannot be an oversight. 

Virginia’s existing and potential future fuel taxes were at the center of a recent post about the Transportation and Climate Initiative, and to dispute the data in the post somebody logically went to the DMV’s website. I reported the current statewide tax on gasoline as 28.8 cents per gallon, but DMV lists it as 21.2 cents per gallon. My veracity was then questioned, citing the webpage.

Now the misleading DMV table is the more important question. It is not the only example of DMV sleight of hand I’ve recently noticed. More on that other one later. Right now, the question is, why is DMV ignoring the 7.6-cent-per-gallon regional tax, now collected in every Virginia locality? Why report that people pay 21.2 cents per gallon, when it is really 28.8 cents? Will the misleading website provide cover for legislators who want to deny the tax increase?

The green areas paid the regional/wholesale gas and diesel tax before July 1, and the rest of the state started paying it July 1. It is now really a statewide tax. Click for larger view.

Before this July, the regional tax was added on only in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and along the Interstate 81 corridor.  The revenue was dedicated to those regions. The 2020 General Assembly expanded it to every corner of the state, effective July 1.

First came House Bill 1541, creating a Central Virginia Transportation Authority comparable to those already in place for the three previously named regions. Both the bill itself and the fiscal impact statement are clear that various new taxes were being added, including 7.6 cents per gallon on gasoline and 7.7 cents per gallon on diesel.

Then came the omnibus transportation funding bill, House Bill 1414. It raised the basic tax 10 cents over two years, but it also expanded the additional regional taxes to every locality not yet reached by them. The additional taxes were “regional” no more, but their revenue is still committed to the transportation districts where it is collected. Again, the outcome is clearly stated in the fiscal impact statement.

The final outcome is also reported in this Commonwealth Transportation Board slide presentation on the actions of the 2020 General Assembly. The American Petroleum Institute’s data has been updated to reflect the July 1 changes, and it has the best detailed breakdown of the taxes and fees.

If the DMV did not want to lump the two taxes into the same category on that published table, it could have added a separate line for regional dedicated fuel taxes, or call it a “wholesale tax,” the designation used in House Bill 1414. Either way, the real state tax on a gallon of gasoline is now 28.8 cents, not 21.2 cents. To leave that second tax off that listing is deceptive.

Actually, there is DMV website reference to the “wholesale tax,” but nowhere in that entry does the amount of tax – 7.6 cents for gasoline and 7.7 cents for diesel – get reported. You have to scroll to the end to find a linked announcement, where the tax amounts are finally listed. It is well buried.

The other deception involves another aspect of House Bill 1414, the creation of a new “highway user fee.” All will recall the fanfare around the decision to lower the annual registration fee on cars and small trucks, with the politicians all taking a bow. Less attention was given to the other side of the coin, a new highway user fee. It is also paid at the time of registration and is directly tied to the fuel efficiency of your vehicle, rising higher and higher as the official MPG rating increases.

In the press announcements, the “average” highway user fee was put at $19. So, if your vehicle is on the efficient list (rated at 23.7 MPG or better), the amount you pay at registration is actually higher than before, not lower. Subtract $10 but add $19. With a very efficient vehicle, you could pay a substantially higher registration fee. Call it a green penalty.

There is no calculator I could find where you plug in your make and model and see what the highway user fee will be. Nor would DMV provide a list of examples of the MPG ratings of popular models, and I did ask. You’ll find out when you apply. Only electric vehicles have a publicly available highway user fee of $88.20, also a substantial increase over the previous $64.

Again, they don’t want you to notice. They want you to think registration fees  went down, just like they want you to think the gas tax is lower than it is.

The highway user fee was not on the list of all the new taxes approved by the 2020 General Assembly. It is now added.

This is an interim step toward the kind of vehicle-miles-traveled highway funding method that many favor, and that’s fine. The issue is not whether the highway user fee is a good or bad idea. The issue is whether the state is being honest and open about it. Let people know legislators approved it and they must pay it. Admit  many Virginians will pay more than before. Don’t be making things hard to find and calculate – whether it is a highway user fee or the motor fuels tax.

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47 responses to “Is DMV Hiding 26% of Virginia’s Fuel Tax?

  1. There you go, Larry. Bill numbers, fiscal impact statements, a Powerpoint from the Transportation Board…..now do you believe the tax is actually 28.8 cents per gallon and I was correct? Thanks for letting me see how the DMV was hiding the truth from the people.

    • No. It is not. It is 21 cents per gallon. The other part of the tax will vary based on the price of the wholesale sale.

    • Well.. I never called you a liar Steve, I just pointed out the websites I was looking at and asked if you had some that showed the data you said was correct.

      So, here you go:

      https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/commercial/#taxact/wh_tax_rates.asp

      DMV has played the “hiding in plain site” game for years… it’s never been all put in one place so they’re not being “sneaky” all of a sudden in the Northam Administration. For instance, how many people even know where to find transportation funding data? I’d wager almost no one beyond transportation officials.

      There is still some confusion. Our region belongs to the Rappahannock Potomac Transportation District since perhaps 1986. We’ve had a 2.1% tax at the wholesale level and much of the money goes to fund VRE commuter rail.

      I sit on the regional MPO and there has been confusion about whether we will get the additional tax – not saying it’s not true – just saying there has been almost no information about it nor how much it would generate which is the number that gets attention.

      Next, I mentioned Smart Scale and will again, because it changes the way that gasoline tax money (as well as sales tax money) is going to be distributed. It’s no longer allocated to each region – it’s now a statewide fund that requires regions/localities to compete for by meeting specified performance criteria – the higher scores get funded – the lower ones do not.

      Because NoVa and Hampton already had transportation districts – and were using that money to leverage their Smart Scale scores, the other regions were claiming “foul’ and wanted their own dedicated funding for their own projects and/or to use it to leverage their Smart Scale proposals.

      Finally, Virgina has been one of the lowest gas tax states in the country and funding for new projects had cratered because the Virginia Constitution requires any funding received to completely pay for mainteance and operations before any left over can be spent for new projects.

      Three projects were dead in the water until changes made to get them funded.

      1 – Adding lanes and new bridges to I-95 from Fredericksburg to NoVa.

      2.- Adding new tunnels to Hampton Roads

      3. – Adding lanes to I-81 in the Valley of Virginia.

      The first two are funded from tolls. The I-81 from a special tax district. The anti-taxers pretty much forced tolling because they opposed tax increase to pay for these projects. They tried tolls for I-81 also but it went down and that’s when the seperate tax idea was floated and passed STILL with anti-tax folks opposition!

      So folks from the right will argue that a TAX IS A TAX IS A TAX – an “increase” but the reality is Virginia was pretty much dead in the water on transportation infrastructure without more funding – because their funding had steadily deteriorated with more and more fuel efficient cars.

      And yes indeed, the folks in the GA pretty much got all of it pretty well hidden by doing it at the wholesale level and indexing the rate – i.e. no more “votes” that anti-tax folks can use as a political weapon!

      Finally, given the sneaky nature, I’m surprised to hear complaints from folks who have been professional lobbyists and specialize in “sneaky” bill language on ocassion themselves!

  2. Or this https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/commercial/taxact/wholesale_tax.html

    Effective July 1, 2020, the Virginia Motor Vehicle Fuels Sales Tax (Wholesale Sales Tax) will be levied on fuel sold or delivered to retail dealers throughout the Commonwealth. This tax will be administered in the same way that it is currently administered in the Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and Western Virginia areas. .

  3. Okay, so there’s a $0.21 fuel tax and then back in 2012 NoVa put a wholesale tax of 2.1%. Apparently that was made statewide on 7/1

    https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/pdf/wholesale_notice.pdf

    So, it’s two different taxes applied in two different ways, i.e., sales tax is .21 per gallon, and the wholesale tax is 2.1% of the transaction. That’s why DMV doesn’t report the WH Tax.

    Larry is holding the tail, and Steve has the trunk.

    • You and Larry are dissembling. As is common among your tribe.

      The tax is 28.8 cents. The fact that they are using two code sections to impose it means nothing except they don’t want people to see. The wholesaler puts it on the final retail price. And next year, when a new tax is added for this carbon tax program, they will also leave that off the list and continue to lie about how much the actual tax is.

      • No it is not!

        Suppose the wholesale distributor sells a station 1 gallon of gas at $1. He pays the regional authority, whoever that is, 2.1 cents and pockets 97.9 cents.
        The retailer now sells that 1 gallon to you for $1.51, and pays 21 cents to the state. The total tax paid in all transactions is 23.1 cents.

        That 7 cents you keep thowing around is not fix to a gallon.

        It’s not dissembling. It’s not just waving hands and lumping things together to determine an incorrect sales tax.

        • for anti-taxers, HOW the tax “works” is irrelevant. It’s still a hated tax foisted on them by immoral and unaccountable political critters…

          Never mind that transportation is the special sauce that makes the economy go round… nope… it’s a tax… “we don’t want no stinking taxes”.

          • Veranda Vikings.

          • Tax fear porn??

          • it’s what comes natural to anti-taxers…

            There is almost nothing in your home that did not get to you on a road. Food, medicines, furniture, appliances, books, etc, etc, etc, yet taxes to pay for them are hated.

            And the irony is that next to public education, public roads are socialism. If we did roads the “anti-taxer” way, they’d all be tolled by private companies… which anti-taxes also hate!

            In the end – they simply don’t want to pay. In their minds, things like roads should be “free”… like from the tooth fairy or Santa…. actually paying for them is for others…..suckers and losers….if you will..

      • How will anyone really know Steve? It’s not on the pumps right?

        It DOES matter that the two taxes are separate.

        The first one is for funding statewide – and even you are missing the other taxes beyond fuel. 2/3 of transportation funding actually comes from sales taxes – not fuel taxes!

        The regional taxes do not fund the state. They fund the region. It’s their dedicated funding stream for projects they want to priortize themselves instead of having state level VDOT do it.

        Yes.. I know… to some of you folks a tax is a tax is a tax… but if ya’ll had your way – the state would be totally gridlocked on I-95 and I-81 while ya’ll hoarded your pennies… and no I do not think I’ve every heard you support tolls instead….. nope… just anti-tax… let people rot in congestion – “not my problem.” Ya’ll support the same “solution” for education and health care also… got yours -screw others.

  4. weathertiteconstruction

    Thanks Steve, the older I get the more I hate the malfeasance politicians perpetrate on their constituents. Government is so large, and intertwined with our lives, and their purposes so arcane, that the normal working schlub is easy prey for political raptors.
    Their motto must be ‘tax the poor to pay for my beach house’.

  5. I don’t know how you came up with 28.8 from, but if it is the per gallon sum of the 21.2 per gallon sales tax and the 2.1% wholesale tax, then the wholesale price is something like $3.50 per gallon.

    Something tells me your calculation is wrong.

    • The 2.1% was converted to a flat 7.6 cents in the same HB 1414. Read the info I provided. The percentage turned into a flat amount. It is 21.2 plus 7.6. You can add that. The one point Larry was correct on was that these games are not new with the Northam Administration, and setting this up as a percentage in 2013 was in part yet another way to keep things obfuscated. There was also this Malthusian dream that the price would always rise.

  6. Whether Nancy Boy is right or Steve is right, the state website is wrong. Typical of Virginia and especially typical of Democrats in Virginia. The lies just keep piling up. Yesterday a judge fined Eileen Filler-Corn for failing to produce documents requested under FOIA regarding the cost of removing Confederate statues. Apparently a practiced liar, Filler-Corn claimed no such documents existed. One suspects that Filler-Corn assumed she could use “The Virginia Way” to outlast the requestor and continue to maintain the ridiculous lie that the statues were removed with no documentation. As it turns out, the requestor took the matter to court and guess what? There are documents! It cost $80,000 to remove the statues. The judge fined Filler-Corn $500 and assessed her $2,000 in court costs. Filler-Corn’s chief of staff sniveled about the grave dangers to contractors removing statues in his lame attempt to defend the prevaricating legislator. The problem, of course, is that Filler-Corn didn’t say that she wouldn’t release the documents out of concerns for the safety of the contractors, she said the documents didn’t exist. A lie, pure and simple.

    $80,000? One possible reason for Filler-Corn’s interest in lying was that she was protecting a fellow Democrat, namely Levar Stoney. Filler-Corn’s $80,000 statue removal tab compares shall we say very favorably with Stoney’s $1.8M contract to remove Confederate statues. Not all statues are created equal but there is a small fortune sloshing around in that Stoney contract and the cover up is in full swing.

    https://www.wtvr.com/news/local-news/judge-fines-virginia-house-speaker-eileen-filler-corn-foia-violation

    Lest anybody complain that I only say bad things about Virginia’s Democrats … the amount of road construction being done in NoVa is staggering right now. At least it sure looks that way. Major projects stretch for miles on Rt 7 and I66. Could it be that the Democrats are actually spending a fair share of the state’s transportation funds in NoVa rather than following the Republican lead and siphoning the money to prop up transportation in rural Virginia? First blush appearances make it look that way.

    • If there has been a change (and the math is complicated), the funding formula bills that accomplished that were done under the GOP legislature. Probably quite bipartisan. Any project you see today was in the planning stages years ago. I’d rather untangle the Dominion finances….No matter how the redistricting is done, one result will be another incremental increase in clout for the area.

    • The work being done on I66 is in preparation for tolling.

  7. In terms of road construction – if you care to be informed and not just knee-jerk, you really need to understand Smart Scale. It has totally changed the way that transportation projects are approved and funded and NoVa is way ahead of other jurisdiction in doing this. They not only have their own in-house transportation experts and modelers but they use the money from their own transportation district to leverage projects in Smart Scale.

    In other words – two projects pretty much the same – the one that has additional money proffered by the region – wins. That’s what NoVa and Hampton Roads have been doing and that’s what drove demands from other regions/planning districts to fairly compete.

    The Fredericksburg Area has already had a 2.1% tax for decades that was collected at the wholesale level and used to fund commuter rail with other transit/road projects with any left over money.

    It is not clear at all whether they retained that 2.1% tax or it was replaced by the 7.6 cents per gallon tax or the 7.6 was added to the existing 2.1% tax.

    Also , not clear if something like that happened to the localities along I-81 that were already paying an additional tax to fix I-81.

    Steve, a retired lobbyist, is saying that the DMV is “hiding” information. I challenge anyone to go to the actual legislation and figure out what it says – something Steve should be very familiar with in general in terms of just how arcane and inscrutable the Code of Virginia is – for a wide variety of things way beyond transportation taxes and funding.

    • The point is that table on their website, which you immediately went to. There is no reference to the second “wholesale/regional” tax there and there should be.

      • And I invite Steve to go to the legislation he linked and decode/translate it here.

        It’s a mess but not that different than a lot of legislation I’ve looked at but I would think Steve and Dick probably can decode it.

        • Are you trying to claim that the folks at DMV haven’t figured out the bill? And that’s why they left if off?

          • Are you claiming you understand the legislation in terms of the districts and their taxes – or the Tax Foundation or API?

            Why blame just DMV when as far as I can tell – no one else seems to know and say so either.

            You being a retired professional in all this – can you read the legislation and lay out the districts and their taxes here?

            For instance, in the Fredericksburg Area which has had a 2.1% tax for decades – dedicated ONLY to PRTC -VRE commuter rail. Has that tax been replaced with a per gallon 7.6 cents or is the 7.6 cents on top of the existing or what?

            How about the NOVA taxes that included recordation and other sales and real estate taxes. Did they all get replaced by the 7.6 cents?

            just checked API – they seem to think this:

            ” The Virginia gasoline tax was raised to 21.2 cpg from 16.2 cpg on 7/1/20. “Other Taxes” columns include 0.6 cpg petroleum storage tank fee and the wholesale tax. As of 7/1/18 the Virginia government has converted the wholesale tax, formerly calculated as 2.1% of fuels sold in NoVA and Hampton Roads, into a regular cpg tax. The VA DMV has determined that for all wholesale tax regions the new cpg wholesale tax is 7.6 cpg for gasoline and 7.7 cpg for diesel. As of 7/1/20 the wholesale tax regions includes all of Virginia”

            did not address the PRTC VRE tax…. which is in effect in the Fredericksburg region.

  8. I can’t get over the irony of a retired lobbyist lamenting the lack of transparency for legislative process, legislation and taxes – now!

    😉

    yes indeed – DMV is HIDING “stuff”.

    I challenge anyone here to go read the actual legislation for the transportation districts and translate it here.

    For instance, the pre-existing tax districts in NoVa and Hampton roads were not only fuel taxes. They were also recordation and occupany taxes.

    Read this; https://ggwash.org/view/30318/follow-the-money-in-virginias-transportation-bill

    and some here will recall this headline from Conservatives:

    ” Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Signs Largest Tax Hike in Virginia History into Law

    Governor Bob McDonnell, in one of his final acts as governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, signed into law a $5.9 billion tax increase on Virginia families to fund light rail and transportation projects throughout the Commonwealth. The tax increase is the largest in the history of Virginia, edging out Democrat Governor Mark Warner’s 2004 tax increase.

  9. Not sure what the big scandal is here. It seems state taxes on retail gas sales went up. Also reGional taxes went up on wholesale gas sales. Do I have this right? Where do you draw the line at counting taxes? During well exploration? At the wellhead? Can’t see this as a deep, dark DMV conspiracy.

  10. And on top of all of this taxing is a national distribution and pricing system that makes the Gordian Knot seem like a bow.

  11. Steve’s post made a simple point — the DMV web page he cites provides an incomplete picture of motor fuels taxes in Virginia. My question to the ankle-biting commentary is this: Do you believe in transparency or not? If you do believe in transparency, do you think it’s OK to hide relevant information in footnotes, opaque language, and other pages?

    • And I’m asking why pick on DMV when the information is clearly opaque in the legislation also which is where DMV, the Tax Foundation, API and Steve have to go to ferret out the complete picture.

      Also – the claim was that Northam was “hiding”a tax increase as opposed to the way that most legislation is written and the fact that DMV has presented info like this for a long time . The same thing happened under McDonnell and zero whining about DMV “transparency” back then as I recall.

      If ya’ll had made your case for on these issues before and not imply that it’s a Dem or Northam thing, you would have been more righteous… but as usual, it’s not really about transparency as much as it is partisan.

      Ya’ll attack government when the other guys are in charge but zip your lips when your guys are in….

      heal thyself!

      • Last year I noticed DMV had some other outdated info on the web page re: hybrid cars…I followed up and tried to tell them but it was lost cause.

        • The thing I would point out again is that neither the statewide nor the regional transportation taxes are fuel tax only.

          Fuel taxes generate only about 1/3 of the transportation tax revenues in Virginia – statewide. Even for NoVa and Hampton regional taxes, it used to be more than just a fuel tax.

          But what would have been GOOD would have been a post that showed actual revenues – before and after the tax increase.

          I dunno who keeps track of that and I doubt that any but a very very few people know those numbers.

      • True. Why pick on the DMV? The rest of the Virginia government is just as bad.

        • It’s true that DMV does a crappy job of providing comprehensive information and instead provide different pieces of it in different places but they DO provide the reference to the Virginia Code whereas the Tax Foundation and API seem to not do so.

          If THE source of the gas tax data is, in fact, the Virginia Code or LIS then I think most folks would be frustrated and be-fuddled.

          Now there are two folks who post here – Steve and Dick that are familiar with how opaque legislation can be as well as the non-transparent way the process and the final numbers can be.

          Where I do argue is when it is claimed that this is a nefarious thing on Northams part to, either himself, or also through DMV to “hide” the data. This is patently false. It’s ALWAYS been this way!

          Let me give a further example. NoVa, has, for many years levied taxes for it’s own GA-created transportation district. Those taxes were not fuel taxes:

          ” What does the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) do? NVTA, also referred to as the Authority, funds transportation projects that are primarily intended to relieve traffic congestion in Northern Virginia. 30 percent of NVTA’s funds are distributed directly to the Authority’s member jurisdictions who then allocate it to transportation projects that meet their local needs. The remaining 70 percent of NVTA’s funds are allocated to regional projects as evaluated by the Authority.

          Where does NVTA get its revenue? NVTA’s revenues result from legislation enacted by the Virginia General Assembly in 2013 (HB 2313). Three existing taxes – Sales Tax, Grantor’s Tax, and Transient Occupancy Tax – were increased in Northern Virginia to generate the NVTA’s annual revenues of approximately $300 million. In addition, the NVTA can finance projects through the issuance of long term bonds. NVTA revenues would be used to repay debt service on the bonds.”

          So were the above taxes repealed and replaced with a single per gallon tax on fuels?

          You KNOW when someone like Steve has to spend a fair amount of time digging up the answers to this stuff – that the claim that it is “hidden” …. coming from a guy who was a lobbyists has a certain amount of irony to it.

          Finally, why does the GA do this?

          In part, because fuel/transportation taxes are hot button issues and that no matter what method they choose to fund transportation, there are vociferous no-tax opponents – so in the end – no matter how you do it – some interest group is going to use it as a political cudgel against those who voted for it.

  12. Ankle biting? You mean like chihuahuas? Little dogs?

  13. Ya know, buying gasoline is a lot like shopping for an emergency room, “Yes, I know Sentara is closer, but Aetna has a better deal with Riverside. Besides, it’s not like you haven’t staunched the bleeding.”

  14. This bickering by Larry and Nancy is ridiculous. Whether you call it a wholesale tax separate from a gas tax is irrelevant. The effective sum of the legislation is that gas costs more per gallon. If it looks like a tax and smells like a tax…

    I do not live in an MPO. My gas went up now thanks to the state legislators. The DMV should be clear on what the tax portion of the price you pay at the pump is versus the price set by the market.

    • Not arguing that it’s not a tax. I’m arguing that transportation revenues have decreased as car have gotten more efficient.

      When you buy a more fuel efficient car -you actually ARE paying LESS.

      Transportation infrastructure costs money and it directly supports almost every apsect of our economy. It’s pound foolish to resent paying taxes to properly support it.

      And none of the anti-taxers seem to resent the govt taking land away from people to build those roads in the first place… they’re okay with that apparently – but they just don’t want to pay even as they use the roads.

      And the same guys? They almost always oppose Tolls also. The bottom line is that they just don’t want to pay but they’ll claim it’s not about paying, it’s about “too much” instead even though they never make a case for what is ‘enough” – any tax is “too much”….

  15. If I remember correctly, gas prices were approaching $4 per gallon when McDonnell’s tax hike was passed. I think there was a provision that the wholesale tax would be based on a minimum wholesale price of $3.50 per gallon. Gas prices plunged shortly after this, which is how you get 7.6 cents from 2.1%.

    The big problem that needs to be addressed in the near future is how to fund roads as hybrid and electric car numbers increase. Few people notice a couple bucks every time they fill up, but everybody will howl if they have to shell out an extra one or two hundred dollars at registration time!

    • ” The federal excise tax on gasoline is 18.4 cents per gallon, and has not increased since 1993. If the tax rate was adjusted for inflation since 1993, it would be 33 cents per gallon in 2020.”

      This is also without considering losses from the increased fuel efficiency.

      The Federal Gas tax is what Virginia used to build new stuff. They relied on the Virginia Gas tax to pay for maintenance and operations.

      It became clear that the Feds were not going to adjust that gas tax for inflation so Virginia was effectively losing 15 cents a gallon for funding.

      If you think about it in those terms of the “increase” – 5 cents + 5 cents + 7.6 is pretty much making up for the loss of federal revenues -but still not making up for the losses due to increases in fuel efficiency.

      No one who is decrying the gas tax increase here – is also acknowledging the loss of Federal funds… nope…

    • That is the other part of my post which everyone is ignoring, the “we won’t tell you how much” highway user fee….That’s a classic camel’s nose.

  16. Larry, see James post above. You’re off in the weeds. No one is disputing that gas efficiency is impacting tax revenues. I think most here agree that a long term solution must be developed, and raising gas taxes is simply a stopgap measure. The issue is the hidden and secretive nature. Legislators should be open to the public about the issues we face and their proposed solutions, even if it does a mean a tax hike. Promising not to raise taxes while couching the cost increases in fees or refusing to acknowledge the increases is not acceptable. This is the same thing as raising your electric bill through riders. The cost of electricity didn’t change per kWh, were just tacking add on as the average consumer doesn’t notice. It’s not outright lying but it is certainly disingenuous and misleading. These same legislators ran on “transparency “. That is the issue here.

    • All I’m saying is that no such demands for transparency were heard the last time gas taxes were increased and part of the reason why is the anti-taxers are going to raise a stink about it no matter what is needed.

      Further, the most transparent user fee is tolls but again, I don’t see folks “demanding” that tolls be the way to charge for roads.

      Steve and Jim talk about taxing the man behind the tree but that exactly the mindset of the anti-taxer folks. They just flat don’t want to pay what it costs to maintain the road system – not through taxes, not through tolls, not through charging by the mile or at registration time for miles driven.

      So politicians knows this so they take the path of least resistance and no, it did not start with the Northam Administration or all of a sudden by the DMV; they’re doing it the way they always have.

      I like to point people to this chart which DMV does provide. It will tell you a LOT about transportation funding in Virgina – very transparent!
      Most folks have no clue about the numbers. All they hear is “tax” and we’re off to the races.

      take a gander at it: https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/pdf/tracking_aug20.pdf

  17. If — IF — there is to be true transparency then WE THE PEOPLE should demand that the State produce a sticker that clearly reads;

    The State of Virginia imposes the following taxes
    $0.212 per gallon fuel tax
    $0.078 per gallon wholsale tax

    And put it on the pump right next to the Weights and Measures tag.

    Of course, to pay for all those stickers may necessitate a tax increase.

  18. API shows the data here (as of July 2020):
    https://www.api.org/oil-and-natural-gas/consumer-information/motor-fuel-taxes/gasoline-tax

    So it says we are 21.2 cents + 8.2 = 29.4 cents/gal which would be state average.

    That’s looks like a increase from where we were. I have to go by memory but I think the rural areas had been 17.x cents whereas NoVA and Hampton had an extra 2% wholesale price. So in the past the state average was in the range 21 cents in the API numbers.

  19. Bottom Line- Thanks Steve. I had not previously heard about the local tax addon element going statewide. Of course, that does not effect us here in NoVA as we always paid that.

    I like the idea of equal gaso taxes over Virginia*. One thing to keep in mind, gasoline is still more expensive in NoVa/Hampton due to use of “RBOB” EPA reformulated gasoline which costs 10-20 cents more per gallon.

    *If I thought border areas like Bristol could benefit from more business from Tennessee, I might let them keep a lower tax as a business incentive.

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