With gas prices at an all-time high and no sign of relief in sight, Americans are anxious for any type of financial help to ease the pain they’re experiencing at the pump. Now, lawmakers appear to be discussing ways to help individuals who are suffering the most as a result of the price hikes.
While gas prices have begun to fall from their peak in early March as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, they are still averaging $4.24 per gallon, according to AAA, with the highest rates in the country being observed in California, where consumers are paying as much as $5.91 per gallon. As a result of the high prices, state and federal officials have introduced a slew of new plans to try to provide relief to Americans, albeit none have been passed into law.
Here’s a rundown of the several plans that have been suggested thus far.
The Gas Rebate Act
This bill, proposed by Reps. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), John Larson (D-Conn.), and Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.), would provide a $100 monthly energy rebate to both individual and joint tax filers for the remainder of 2022, as long as the average price of gas exceeds $4 per gallon in any given month.
Families could receive up to $300 each month in rebate checks if their dependents receive $100 each. People earning less than $75,000 per year would be eligible for the full $100 refund, but those earning up to $80,000 would see their checks phased off. Joint filers earning less than $150,000 would also be eligible, with the payment phasing off at $160,000.
Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) have proposed a federal bill that would provide a quarterly rebate to consumers based on a tax paid by oil and gas companies. Between 2015 and 2019, a per-barrel tax of 50% of the difference between the current price of a barrel of oil and the pre-pandemic average price would be charged. Individual filers earning less than $75,000 per year and married joint filers earning less than $150,000 per year would benefit from the money raised by the tax.
Minnesota Rebate Check Instead Of Gas Tax Holiday
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz revealed in a budget proposal for his state that he wants to give $500 direct payments to persons making less than $164,400 a year and $1,000 to couples making less than $273,470 to help residents cope with rising gas prices. The proposal comes in place of one suggested by the state’s House Democrats, who recommended waiving the state’s 28-cent-per-gallon gas tax this summer.
California Gas Rebate
Those in the state with the highest per-gallon pricing may be eligible for a $400 payment per vehicle, with a two-vehicle limit. The proposal, which is being pushed by Governor Gavin Newsom, is still awaiting approval from state lawmakers, but if it passes, checks could be delivered to state residents as early as July, which, if costs continue to rise during the summer months, could be a huge relief.