For a supposedly smart guy, VA GOP 2021 gubernatorial nominee and former Carlyle Group CEO Glenn Youngkin sure says a lot of dumb – and erroneous – things. Obviously, his comments the other day on education policy, “Critical Race Theory,” advanced math standards, etc. were completely f’ed up. As have been his comments on pretty much every issue. For instance, how about his latest “meme” on the “gas tax” in Virginia supposedly having “increased 136% under McAuliffe and Northam.” Let us count the ways this is stupid, erroneous, misleading, etc.
- First off, as of October 2020, the “gas tax” in Virginia (21.95 cents per gallon) ranked among the lowest (11th lowest to be exact, similar to Arkansas’ “gas tax”) in the country, FAR below California (61.20 cents per gallon), Maryland (36.70 cents per gallon), North Carolina (36.45 cents per gallon), West Virginia (35.70 cents per gallon)…and even below Tennessee (27.40 cents per gallon) and Kentucky (26.0 cents per gallon).
- Second, even after the 5 cents-per-gallon “gas” tax increase that took effect on July 1, Virginia’s still among the lowest in the country, and VERY low compared to other states…at 26.2 cents per gallon, almost exactly the same as Kentucky and Tennessee.
- Third, of course, the “gas” tax of 26.2 cents per gallon makes up a tiny percentage of the cost of gasoline overall (about $2.93 cents per gallon in Virginia leading up to the July 4th weekend; so the tax component is about 9%), let alone the overall cost of owning and operating a motor vehicle (about $713 per month). See this graphic for the percentages, and note that the overall category of fuel amounts to just 19.3% of the overall cost of owning and operating a vehicle. As for the “gas” TAX component? That would be only like 9% of 19.3%, or about…2%. The rest of the costs of owning/operating a vehicle make up the remaining 98%. But sure, focus on “gas” taxes…ugh.
- Fourth, “gas” prices in Virginia back when Bob McDonnell was governor were often over $3 per gallon. After Terry McAuliffe became governor (in January 2014), “gas” prices fell as low as $1 per gallon (in February 2016), and just $1.83 per gallon in January 2018, when Ralph Northam took over as governor.
- Fifth: Of course, little or none of this has anything to do with who’s governor of Virginia, as the governor has no power whatsoever over: a) world oil prices, which largely determine gasoline prices in the U.S.; b) factors like refinery capacity utilization in the U.S.; etc. So this is generally a brain-dead stupid “meme” regardless of who’s governor, president, etc.
- Sixth: When Terry McAuliffe was governor, and for the first two years of Ralph Northam’s governorship, *Republicans* controlled the General Assembly, and it is of course the *legislature* which passes laws related to taxation, including “gas” taxes. And as RTD columnist Jeff Schapiro notes here, “Fuel tax increases, going back to ‘13, passed w/ bipartisan support, having been proposed by GOP Gov. @BobMcDonnell, who broke no-new-taxes promise. @kirkcoxforva supported that increase.”
- Seventh, obviously “gas” prices in this country are among the lowest in the world – far lower than almost any other “advanced, industrialized” country, such as in Canada or Europe.
- Eighth, as Sen. Scott Surovell points out, “gas” tax revenues are crucial to funding which keeps our roads from crumbling. Which, apparently, is what irresponsible, cynical, super-rich politicians like Glenn Youngkin want – or don’t care about.
- In sum, this entire “argument” by Glenn Youngkin is completely dishonest, false and stupid. Which is, sadly, how Youngkin is about pretty much everything…
P.S. Of course, Youngkin’s the same guy who…