When they first heard the idea of abolishing the state’s 17.5 cents per gallon retail gas tax January, it sounded tantalizing to Roanoke-area motorists.
Regular gas hovered around $3.15 per gallon back then. Many said “hooray!” when I found them pumping fuel around town, and asked about Gov. Bob McDonnell’s eyebrow-raising proposal.
It held out the prospect of gas below $3 per-gallon. Every little bit of money they could save would help, many of the drivers said.
The law passed and that tax ended Monday. So Tuesday I took another spin around Roanoke Valley gas pumps to listen to the gas buyers again. “Underwhelmed” was the best term to describe them.
“I really haven’t been paying attention,” said Deonta Banks when I found him pumping at the Kroger pumps on Peters Creek Road, where regular was selling for $3.22 per gallon.
Keisa Brown of Roanoke was filling up at a Valero station on Williamson Road in Roanoke County, where the price was $3.29. She hadn’t noticed a drop, and “I’ve been paying attention to gas prices,” she said. Brown further wondered why gas is often cheaper when she visits Greensboro, N.C. — that state’s tax is more than 37 cents per gallon.
The price “seems the same to me,” said Leslie Thomas of Roanoke, who was filling up for $3.24 per gallon at the Hess station on Electric Road in Salem.
Their indifference might partly be explained by some of the out-of-the-headlines fine print in the new transportation revenue package approved by the General Assembly. Because, as you know by now, the devil is always in the details.
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