Pumping gas on July 1 is going to sting a bit – that’s when a new sales tax increase goes into effect along the Interstate 81 corridor.

The sales tax approved earlier this year is dedicated to funding improvements along a highly traveled interstate that has tractor trailers and other vehicles speeding through 325 miles of Virginia from Winchester south to Bristol.

The increase is significant — 7.6 cents per gallon for gas and 7.7 cents per gallon for diesel — and it will impact counties in our region where I-81 cuts through as well as Clarke and Warren counties where it doesn’t — so no, we can’t head to Front Royal or Berryville to fill up in order to avoid the tax.

Too many people have been severely injured or killed while traveling on Interstate 81. This tax is going to raise millions for highway improvements, and we’re hopeful that funds from this tax will be used to save lives on a roadway that is frequented by Virginia residents as well as out-of-state travelers.