ALEXANDRIA, Va. (DC News Now) — Just in time for the Fourth of July Weekend, drivers in the DMV are seeing higher gas prices.
The gasoline tax in Virginia and Maryland went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday. In Virginia, the tax on a gallon went up three cents to 28 cents. In Maryland, the tax is a whopping 42 cents a gallon after an increase of seven cents per gallon.
Several gas stations in Alexandria sold fuel at well over $5 a gallon, even though AAA found the average price across Virginia to be $4.65. Maryland averages $4.77 a gallon. Both are below the national average of $4.82
“It seems like a bad time to have gotten a car. But unfortunately it was necessary,” said a woman, who only identified herself as Marin.
Others believe this is not the right time to raise the fuel tax.
“I think it’s hard, especially for people, their income did not go up as well,” said Maeve Roach.
But, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has some things that could help save you money.
First, cut down on the idling where you are parked and when you’re at home. The DOE estimates that it costs you two to four cents a minute. If you’re running the air conditioner, the cost goes up to three to five cents a minute. Plus, reducing idling can save you a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on the engine size and the use of the air conditioner.
You can save up to five cents a gallon by removing unnecessary items from your car, especially heavy ones. The DOE estimates an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your mileage rate by about 1%. The extra weight affects smaller cars more than larger ones.
Cruise control likely will not help you when you drive in the city with all the starts and stops you make. But, when you’re on the highway, the DOE says it’s a good idea to use cruise control tp help you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, save gas.
“I actually really like walking and I have a bike. If you have a bike I suggest using that. But I know not everyone can do that,” Roach offered as suggestions to save money if you can do them.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan continue their calls for gas tax holidays in their states.