What is happening
Lawmakers in Congress and state legislatures are considering giving motorists cash rebates to cover the high cost of gasoline.
why is it important
Gas has averaged more than $4 a gallon nationally since March, hitting $5 in recent weeks.
Lawmakers across the United States are looking for ways to ease pump pain. Some states haveand President Joe Biden has .
But another option is“, which would give eligible Americans $100 a month until the end of the year, or as long as the price of gas rises above $4 a gallon. Democratic Representatives Lauren Underwood, Mike Thompson and John Larson proposed the idea in March with their Gas Reimbursement Act of 2022.
“Americans are feeling the impact at the pump of Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and right now we need to work together on common-sense policy solutions to ease the financial burden my constituents are feeling,” he said. Thompson said in a March 17 statement.
Given Congress’ attitude about sending more stimulus money, their proposal didn’t go very far. But individual states picked up the idea and followed it.
Here’s what you need to know about the gas rebate plan, including who would benefit from it, how long it would last, and what’s happening at the state level.
What is the Gas Reimbursement Act?
If enacted, the measure will give eligible Americans and their dependents $100 each for each month remaining in 2022 that gasoline continues to average more than $4 a gallon.
The United States broke that threshold in March, with little sign that the price would come back down this year. (The individual average in all 50 states topped $4 a gallon in May.)
Who would be eligible for a discount?
As with the pandemic stimulus checks, the compensation depends on income levels: people earning less than $75,000 will get the full $100. The amount would decrease as you earn, and people earning over $80,000 would not be eligible for any refunds.
Joint filers earning less than $150,000 would receive the full $100, phased out to $160,000.
Does the White House support a gas discount?
Biden said he supports suspending the federal gas tax for three months and encouraged individual states to consider similar efforts to save money, including “consumer rebates and relief payments.” “, the White House said in a June 22 statement.
The president told reporters that a nationwide gas rebate card program “is part of what we’re looking at,” Cox Media reported.
The administration first considered discount cards in March, but determined that a shortage of computer chips would make it difficult to produce enough cards, according to the Washington Post.
Also, there would be no mechanism to ensure that consumers don’t use the cards for purchases other than gas, and gaining Congressional support would be a long shot.
Which individual states are considering gas rebates?
A handful of regions have started or are considering gas refunds.
After efforts to suspend California’s 51-cent gasoline tax failed, Governor Gavin Newsom inserted a gasoline tax refund into the state budget in May. Newsom wanted every household with a state-registered car to receive a $400 debit card, up to two cars per family.
But he compromised with lawmakers and agreed to suspend the state sales tax on diesel fuel. Residents will also receive “inflation relief” checks of up to $1,050 per family.
Democratic state senators have proposed paying all licensed adult drivers a one-time payment of $200 to fill up. That’s about what the average North Carolina pays in state gas taxes from July through December, according to state senator Michael Garrett, co-sponsor of the gas rebate bill. .
The plan would cost $1.3 billion, but sponsors say it could come from the state’s fiscal surplus of about $4.241 billion.
“This approach maintains the Highway Fund and the Highway Trust Fund in their entirety, while continuing to collect revenue from nonresidents who pass through our state using our roads, highways and bridges,” Garrett said in a statement. .
If their bill passes, remittances will be sent by October 1.
The Windy City has already begun issuing some of the 50,000 $150 prepaid gas cards and 100,000 $50 prepaid transit cards approved by the city council.
Those interested in the Chicago Moves plan must be at least 18 years old, have a valid driver’s license, and earn no more than $73,000, the city’s median income.
Nominations must be received by the first of the month and recipients are chosen by lottery every month until September.