HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – 56 cents in one week, 17 cents in just one day. Those are the kind of leaps we are seeing lately at the gas pump.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin supports a reduction in the gas tax, but it’s not getting any traction in the legislature.
Speaking to ChamberRVA Monday, Youngkin said there is not much he can do in his role to impact inflation. He said a bad energy policy at the federal level is part of the problem.
“We have constrained the development of American energy; it has made matters even worse. But we can eliminate unnecessary taxes that have been added on top of already increasing prices,” Youngkin said.
As of March 7, Virginia is averaging $3.98 for a gallon of gas. The price is slightly less in Hampton Roads, which is averaging $3.95; an increase of 56 cents. 10 On Your Side drove by some stations Monday charging $4.15 a gallon. Some places are priced even higher. 26 cents of that price is the state gas tax.
It’s below the national average for the state tax and competitive with neighboring states, but that’s doing little to bring down the pain level at the pump.
“You can’t do no leisure driving cause the gas is too high. Gotta do what you gotta do and then go home,” said Terrence Jones, who had just filled up at a Wawa on Newtown Road in Norfolk.
A budget amendment proposal currently in the General Assembly would offer little help. It was proposed before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and calls for just a nickel of a gallon reduction in the state tax. Further, it’s unlikely to pass at this point – and wouldn’t be effective until July 1 even if it did.
A spokeswoman for Governor Glenn Youngkin told 10 On Your Side the governor has continually advocated for providing significant tax relief to Virginians, campaigned on rolling back the most recent increase in the gas tax for 12 months, and is working with the general assembly to include this in the budget.
AAA lists Virginia among the top 10 largest weekly gas price increases.
- Rhode Island (+58 cents)
- Nevada (+57 cents)
- Connecticut (+56 cents)
- Kentucky (+56 cents)
- Alabama (+56 cents)
- West Virginia (+55 cents)
- Virginia (+55 cents)
- Massachusetts (+54 cents)
- New Hampshire (+52 cents)
- New Jersey (+52 cents)
In the meantime, AAA says you can try to get the most out of a gallon of gas and try to drive less.
“We tend to get our maximum gas mileage at about 55 miles an hour, so just reducing our speed by 5 to 10 miles an hour can drastically improve our gas mileage,” said Holly Collins Dalby of AAA Tidewater Virginia.
Here are some other simple ways AAA says you can improve your car’s gas mileage:
► When buying a car, look for models that offer the best fuel economy in their class. For most drivers, an optional larger and/or more-powerful engine is unnecessary.
► Maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Modern cars don’t need “tune ups,” but regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy, performance and longevity.
► Take your car to a repair shop as soon as possible if the “Check Engine” light comes on. This indicates a problem that is causing excessive emissions and likely reducing fuel economy.
► Keep tires properly inflated. Underinflation reduces fuel economy, but more importantly, tires low on air degrade handling and braking, wear more rapidly and can overheat and blowout.
► Slow down and drive the speed limit. On the highway, aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly as speeds increase above 50 mph.
► Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard acceleration. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
► Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in winter. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
► Avoid prolonged idling in general. If your car will be stopped for more than 60 seconds, shut off the engine to save fuel. Many newer cars have automatic engine stop-start systems that do this.
► When driving in town, adjust your speed to “time” the traffic lights. This reduces repeated braking and acceleration that consume additional fuel.
► When approaching a red light or stop sign, take your foot off the gas early and allow your car to coast down to a slower speed until it is time to brake.
► Accelerate smoothly with light to moderate throttle. This allows the automatic transmission to upshift into higher gears sooner, reducing engine rpm and saving fuel.
► Use cruise control to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because a loss of vehicle control could result.
► If your car has a manual transmission, upshift as soon as you can without “lugging” the engine. When practical, you can also save fuel by skip-shifting – for example, going directly from first gear to third.
► Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor.
► Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip, and whenever possible travel outside high-traffic times of day.
► If you own more than one car, use the most fuel efficient model that meets the needs of any given journey.
Jason Speller had just topped off his SUV Monday afternoon, and the prices are changing his driving habits.
“It’s just ridiculous, it’s hurting my pockets a lot. I’m about to put this truck up and get the car out.”
Some drivers are wondering whether these rapid rises in the price of gas are warranted.
According to the Office of the Attorney General, the Virginia price gouging law is only in effect when there is a declared state of emergency. It applies to necessary goods and services that would increase in demand due to the disaster.
So the price gouging law is not in effect and the Office of the Attorney General has no authority under it to act against the rise in gas prices.