Maryland, Virginia gas taxes could rise even higher

As the national average for gas creeps higher, leaders are pushing for higher gas taxes.

It's almost unimaginable that gas prices could climb any faster than they are now, but if lawmakers in Annapolis and Richmond have their way, gas taxes may be on the rise as well.

Currently, the gas tax in Virginia is set 17.5 cents per gallon, while in Maryland, it's 23 cents per gallon. Changes, though could be on the horizon.

In the Commonwealth, legislators want to let the gas tax go up with inflation. In Maryland, leaders want to phase in a 6 percent sales tax on gas purchases over the next three years.

That would equal an extra 18 cents per gallon in the Free State.

State leaders in Virginia say revenue from a tax increase would be used to pay for transportation maintenance. Meanwhile, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley says the proposed tax would raise money for thousands of construction jobs and transportation projects.

It's no comfort, though, to people who are already shelling out plenty to keep their gas tanks full.

"It takes a lot out of the wallet for other things," driver Buzz Leamen said.

The proposals mean that families could soon be spending even more to get around in their cars, just as the average for a gallon of gas nationwide tops $3.50 and shoots toward $4.

Some drivers estimate that they could be spending hundreds of dollars more on gas per year if the tax increases kick in.

"If you use the roads...somebody has got to pay for them," driver Jim Bingham said, also saying he'd rather pay tolls on state highways rather than seeing an increase in gas prices.