Pain at the pump: Gas tax rate could jump as much as 45%

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You could soon be paying more at the pump if Congress does not take action. In just a matter of months the regular gasoline tax rate will skyrocket 45 percent! So what's behind the pain at the pump this time?

The boom in online sales traffic is on track to create a possible traffic nightmare for Virginia commuters.

"It's a battle," said Nancy Thomas with the Retail Merchants Association. "There are stores than can't compete."

When you buy a pair of shoes at the store you pay 5 percent sales tax, but online retailers don't collect Virginia sales tax.

"Can you see how the Internet has an upper hand right off the bat?"  questioned Thomas.

A so called Internet fairness bill would change that, but it's stuck in Congress and Virginia is banking on money from the bill to pay for things like road improvements.

If the Marketplace Fairness Act legislation doesn't pass come January 1 you would have to pay 5 cents more per gallon every time you go to fill up.

"So it's going to be a rough one when you go to the pump and you gotta pay an extra couple bucks every time," said Gary Weiner who is president of Saxon Shoes. "My biggest concern is that this process will continue to evolve and that consumers will be happy to buy out of state and save the tax money, and that my employees are at risk."

The regular gasoline tax rate will rise 45% if no action is taken, and that's not guaranteed to cover all the needed road improvements. Gary fears brick and mortar stores will also take a backseat to online shopping.

"They have a competitive advantage," said Gary.

Congress is in recess right now. Lawmakers return in September.

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