Youngkin wants gas tax holiday for Virginia, but can’t guarantee savings

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin wants lawmakers to suspend the state’s gas tax for three months — but he warns the discount might not be passed on to consumers.

Youngkin said Wednesday the goal is to save drivers 26 cents a gallon at a time when the price of gas has ballooned, in part because of demand as the country tries to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and also because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ban on Russian oil and gas imports.

“We can’t guarantee anything and, oh, by the way, I think that government intervention into private markets is why we’re in this trouble right now,” Youngkin said on WRIC in Richmond.

Youngkin estimates the plan would cost Virginia more than $400 million.

“Right now, we don’t need the money and we should pass it back to Virginia,” he said.

The Virginia General Assembly’s special session starts Monday.

Maryland approved a one-month suspension of its gas tax — 36 cents a gallon — nearly two weeks ago.

In an effort to control spiking energy prices, President Joe Biden is ordering the release of 1 million barrels of oil per day from the nation’s strategic petroleum reserve for six months, the White House said Thursday.

The White House says Biden also will call on Congress to impose financial penalties on oil and gas companies that lease public lands but aren’t producing energy.

According to The Associated Press, oil remains a key vulnerability for the U.S. at home and abroad. Higher prices have crushed Biden’s approval domestically.

Americans on average use about 21 million barrels of oil daily, with about 40% of the consumption devoted to gasoline, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Domestic oil production is equal to more than half of the country’s usage, but high prices have not led companies to return to their pre-pandemic levels of output. The U.S. is producing on average 11.7 million barrels daily, down from 13 million barrels in early 2020.

WTOP’s Michelle Basch and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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