The Bulletin

Virginia gas prices hit new records as budget impasse continues

By: - May 16, 2022 4:05 pm

Lawmakers still haven’t agreed on a form of relief from high gas prices. (NBC12)

The average price of gas in Virginia hit a new record of $4.319 per gallon Monday as state lawmakers continue to debate relief for people struggling to afford higher fuel costs, according to data from AAA.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin and his Republican allies have pressed for an emergency suspension of the state’s 26-cent per gallon gas tax. Democrats rejected that proposal but said they’re open to addressing gas costs in a more targeted way, possibly direct rebate payments that would ensure only Virginia residents, not out-of-state motorists, get the benefits.

But the full General Assembly hasn’t met in Richmond since the April 27 veto session, and there have been few public updates on the status of backchannel budget negotiations between a small group of legislators from the Republican House of Delegates and the Democratic Senate.

Some Democratic lawmakers had predicted the price of gas would fall naturally, but according to AAA, the average price in Virginia has hit eight new records since the start of the year. This week, average prices have tied or exceeded records several days in a row.

“The high cost of oil, the key ingredient in gasoline, is driving these high pump prices for consumers,” AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson Morgan Dean said in a news release. “Even the annual seasonal demand dip for gasoline during the lull between spring break and Memorial Day, which would normally help lower prices, is having no effect this year.”

Virginia legislators have given little indication when they expect to have a budget deal to vote on, but the current fiscal year ends June 30.

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Graham Moomaw
Graham Moomaw

A veteran Virginia politics reporter, Graham grew up in Hillsville and Lynchburg, graduating from James Madison University and earning a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Before joining the Mercury in 2019, he spent six years at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, most of that time covering the governor's office, the General Assembly and state politics. He also covered city hall and politics at The Daily Progress in Charlottesville. Contact him at [email protected]