Gas Price Roundup
Gas prices are high, and they could become even higher next year if the state raises the gas tax.
Some Maryland politicians may be setting the stage for another attempt to raise the state’s gas tax in the state legislature next year (as reported by The Baltimore Sun earlier this month).
It is likely to be presented as a way to pay for urgently-needed work to repair highways, bridges and other key transportation infrastructure.
But, with gas prices still bouncing around at levels just under the $4-per-gallon level, and with the economy remaining in the tank, it’s certain to be a tough sell.
The question was front and center this week at the Greater Baltimore Transportation Summit with State Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola of Gaithersburg bluntly stating that crunch time for a
hike in the state gas tax will come in 2012. The next year will be crucial, he suggested, with prospects for a tax hike diminishing greatly in 2013 and 2014 ahead of statewide elections. (Read this story on The Baltimore Sun for more information.)
The federal gas tax is now 18.7 cents per gallon, while the Maryland state tax has been pegged at 23.5 cents a gallon since the 1990s. (By way of comparison, Virginia’s state gas tax is lower—18.5
cents per gallon.)
The need for more money for roads and bridges as the federal transportation budget is slashed may well force the state legislature to finally heed pleas for a tax increase on gasoline to help foot the bill.
Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, already are calling for a 30 percent cut in the federal transportation spending. That would translate into far less federal aid to the states for highways.
“That is a huge cut at a time when we have big infrastructure needs and huge unemployment in this sector,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-District 8 and a key member of the House Transportation Committee, told that same Greater Baltimore summit meeting.
So, as we check Chevy Chase gas prices this week, what do you think? Should the Legislature raise the gas tax next year? (Share your thoughts by taking our Patch poll at the bottom of this page.)
- W Express, River Road near Whole Foods, $3.59 (cash), 10 cents higher for payment by credit card
- Lake Liberty, Chevy Chase Lake, Connecticut Avenue inbound, $3.67
- Sunoco, Chevy Chase Lake, Connecticut Avenue inbound, $3.67
- Citgo, Chevy Chase Lake, Connecticut Avenue outbound, $3.69
- Exxon, Connecticut Avenue NW near Safeway and south of Chevy Chase Circle, $3.99
- Tiger Mart, Connecticut and Nebraska avenues NW, $3.96
- Shell, Connecticut Avenue and Fessenden Street NW, $3.93
- BP, Connecticut Avenue NW, next to Politics & Prose, $3.92
(All prices quoted are for regular, unleaded gasoline.)