Virginia, California Democrats push back against gas tax relief

The White House is considering a federal gas tax holiday to relieve some of the pain at the pump that Americans are feeling.

Updated: April 11, 2022 - 11:07pm

Some red and blue states have decided to suspend their gas tax, but Virginia and California Democrats are pushing back on the idea.

The White House is considering a federal gas tax holiday to relieve some of the pain at the pump that Americans are feeling across the country.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.) campaigned on implementing a gas tax holiday. Youngkin has put forth a proposal to suspend the 26.2 cents per gallon gas tax through July, but Virginia Democrats want to give every vehicle owner a $50 rebate instead. Under the Democrats' plan, the maximum a household could receive is $100.

"That's barely enough for a tank of gas," Virginia House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore, a Republican, wrote on Twitter. "It's out of touch with working class families & with the cost of doing business in VA. Get out of the bubble!"

Virginia Democratic leaders have said they oppose a temporary gas tax holiday, in part, because it would benefit everyone who buys gas in the state and result in less taxpayer funding for infrastructure.

"@GovernorVA's gas tax plan helps oil companies and out-of-state drivers," wrote Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, the Democratic leader in the House of Delegates, on Twitter.

Republican Delegate Mike Webert said the state can afford a 3-month gas tax holiday.

"With revenues the way the state is right now, we have plenty of funds to cover a three-month hiatus from the gas tax," Webert said. "We've got billions of dollars coming from the federal government, so it's not like we're going to forgo a lot of construction projects. In fact, the chairman of our appropriations committee says everything is funded." 

Republicans in California have also proposed a state gas tax holiday, but Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has suggested a rebate as an alternative. Newsom's plan includes providing $400 debit cards for each vehicle owned with an $800 cap.

California has the highest state gas tax in the nation, followed by Pennsylvania, Illinois and New Jersey. 

So far, Georgia, Connecticut and Maryland have suspended their gas tax. Other states such as New York and New Jersey are considering doing the same amid surging fuel prices.

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) has said the federal government implementing one nationally would the "best move." He's also commented on proposed state legislation that would provide each driver with a $500 rebate.

Murphy said he's "not against the rebate."

According to AAA, the national average price for regular gasoline is $4.32 per gallon.

The federal gas tax, which is charged to drivers on top of the state gas tax, is currently 18.3 cents per gallon. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that a national gas tax holiday is on the table.

"It is certainly on the table and certainly something we continue to consider," she said on Friday.