Virginia towing companies could soon tack on $20 fuel surcharge

Getting your car towed away from where you parked is already inconvenient, but it could soon get even more expensive in Virginia.

Virginia lawmakers have passed a bill — HB 1649 — that would allow towing operators to add a $20 fuel surcharge, on top of the $150 that can be charged to tow a vehicle off public or private property, without the owner’s knowledge.

The $20 surcharge is a compromise — it was $30 when introduced in the House by Del. Scott Wyatt, R-Hanover. Wyatt, and supporters, testified small businesses are paying more to fill their vehicles’ gas tanks, and are tying to pay employees more during tough economic times.

Opponents of the bill, including Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, had urged rejecting the legislation while waiting for the secretary of transportation to analyze data and develop a consumer protection provision, that would allow individuals to sue towing companies, rather than relying on the attorney general to do it.

The bill, which requires Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s signature, would impose the $20 fuel surcharge through July 1, 2024.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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