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Would You Cross the Potomac for Cheaper Gas?

A potential increase in the Maryland gas tax and the elimination of a gas tax in Virginia could trigger migration.

Would the promise of cheaper gas get you to cross the Potomac?

Maryland's legislature will consider raising the gasoline tax for the first time in 20 years this session, Patch reported in December.

In response, drivers might head south to "fill up in Virginia," a representative from AAA said.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell could make the drive across the Potomac even more enticing, with the announcement that he will seek to eliminate his state's $0.175-per-gallon gasoline tax, according to a recent Washington Examiner story.

While the disparity between gas prices in Maryland and Virginia currently is almost $0.13 per gallon, that gap could widen to as much as $0.35 per gallon if Maryland raises its gas tax and Virginia eliminates its tax, The Examiner reported, adding that the difference would equate to an extra $7 to fill up a 20-gallon tank in Maryland.

In Bethesda, the cheapest gas can be found at the Exxon station at 10201 Westlake Drive, near the Westfield Montgomery Mall. Regular gas there costs $3.52 a gallon, according to gasbuddy.com.

By comparison, one of the most expensive places to buy gas in Bethesda is the Exxon at Auburn Avenue and Old Georgetown Road. A gallon of regular there will run you $3.99, according to the site.

Two Maryland drivers—a taxi driver and a nurse's assistant—told The Examiner that they would consider traveling to Virginia to save on gasoline.

When asked about the potential changes to gas taxes in Maryland and Virginia, Kirk McCauley, the director of member relations and government affairs for the Washington, Maryland, Delaware Service Station and Automotive Repair Association, called it "devastating for our dealers."

If you've ever wondered why gas is already cheaper in Virginia, AAA spokesman John Townsend told The Examiner that it was due to the larger size of Virginia and that in urban areas, "the Environmental Protection Agency requires more expensive blends to be used in the summer to reduce pollution."

How far would you travel to save money on gasoline? Tell us in the comments.

jag January 18, 2013 at 06:16 PM
"Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell could make the drive across the Potomac even more enticing, with the announcement that he will seek to eliminate his state's $0.175-per-gallon gasoline tax" There is honestly no way VA would ever do that. It'd be so completely nonsensical to effectively make road travel through VA free for out-of-staters and force VA residents pick up the slack via the corresponding sales tax increase McDonnell is proposing. It's honestly the stupidest, most anti-VA legislation I can imagine (seriously, why is he trying to screw his own residents?). I don't know why he'd propose it, except for the sake of saying "I proposed an idea! Sure, it's a terrible one, but at least I tried!"

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