by Steve Haner
The Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles is now only hiding 22% of the state’s existing fuel tax with deceptive website data, not the 26% it was hiding when I wrote about it. last year.
In the graphic you first find DMV research on fuel tax rates, shown below, there is no reference to a statewide wholesale tax of 7.6 cents per gallon on gasoline. MIA, declaring a tax of just 26.2 cents. (That’s 5 cents more than a year ago, and that’s why the “hidden” percentage has dropped.)
This was resubmitted for discussion because the American Petroleum Institute recently produced another compilation for all states, since many changes went into effect on July 1. quickly review state information. (Wonks will want to download and save the full API report.)
Having raised this issue a year ago and having received a communication from DMV, there is now no excuse for this intentional deception. They are creating confusion for political advantage, as the large fuel tax increases approved by the 2020 General Assembly can still anger some voters and be cited in campaigns.
Below is the API data for Virginia (copied with other states to capture the headers.) Click it for a full view. Emphasis added.
Below is the graphic of the DMV webpage as it appears today. Compared to last year, there is now a reference to the small 6 cents per gallon added for the storage tank safety program. If this is listed, why say the wholesale tax is still missing? Everyone pays for it. (The rates are slightly different for diesel, but the pattern of misinformation is the same.)
Even the historical review on another page, looking at recent changes, ignore the wholesale tax. It has been part of the total for a long time, starting first with Northern Virginia only, then extending to the communities of Hampton Roads and Interstate 81 corridor.
As the API notes in its cryptic text on Virginia, this tax was enforced statewide in July 2020.
The Virginia gasoline tax was raised to 26.2 cents per gallon (cpg) from 21.2 cpg and the diesel tax was raised to 27.0 cpg from 20.2 cpg on 7/1 / 21. The “Other Taxes” columns include a 0.6 cpg charge for the petroleum storage tank and the wholesale tax. As of 7/1/18, the government of Virginia converted the wholesale tax, previously calculated at 2.1% of fuels sold to NoVA and Hampton Roads, to a regular cpg tax. The VA DMV has determined that for all wholesale tax regions, the new wholesale cpg tax is 7.6 cpg for gasoline and 7.7 cpg for diesel. As of 7/1/20, wholesale tax regions include all of Virginia.
DMV knows this and is happy to collect the money. Why does he always keep information hidden? Show lower tax totals? There is only one possible explanation. And our friends from Blue virginia has shown its usefulness in a recent post on the question (their emphasis):
Second, even after the 5 cent per gallon gas tax increase that went into effect on July 1, Virginia is still among the lowest in the country and VERY low compared to other states.… At 26.2 cents a gallon, almost exactly the same as Kentucky and Tennessee.
Hiding and pretending that the 7.6 cent wholesale tax does not exist is very useful politically.
While writing for the Thomas Jefferson Institute, I did not include the storage tank part. It is part of the gasoline tax, and the API includes it. I have used 33.8 cents as the current amount. And the DMV page says that the gasoline tax storage tank portion actually went down on July 1, which made me think the confusion is only growing.
In areas of Virginia where the wholesale tax didn’t exist until last year, it’s essentially double the previous tax (just 16.2 cents per gallon). Next year everything starts to increase on an inflation-indexed automatic escalator.
If you can’t dazzle them brilliantly, they say, baffle them with…. Virginia plans $ 2.6 billion cash surplus in just a part of its budget, the portion of the general fund not even including all these transport taxes. Overall, by how much have taxes really increased? Now watch the comment chain fill up with claims that the tax is only 26.2 cents.