Stimulus checks for gas? Proposals would provide up to $100 per month

Leada Gore
al.com (TNS)

Due to soaring prices, Americans are expected to spend $2,000 more on gasoline this year over last year. That staggering number has lawmakers looking for ways to lessen the pain at the pump.

One proposal from a group of Congressional Democrats would provide an “energy rebate” of $100 direct payments to qualifying Americans.

Reps. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., John Larson, D-Conn., and Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., introduced the Gas Rebate Act of 2022, providing $100 per month for adults and $100 for each dependent for the rest of 2022 for any month where the national average gas price exceeds $4 a gallon.

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According to AAA, the average national price of a gallon of gas today is $4.236.

“Americans are feeling the impact at the pump of Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and right now we must work together on commonsense policy solutions to ease the financial burden that my constituents are feeling,” Thompson said.

Cars pass a gas sign at the Sheetz at 4025 W. Market St. Monday, March 14, 2022. Gas prices have jumped to well over $4 per gallon locally in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Bill Kalina photo

The plan is modeled after previous stimulus checks designed to jumpstart the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The first stimulus payment of $1,200 per person was made in March 2020 followed by $600 in December 2020 and $1,400 in March 2021.

Like the earlier stimulus payments, the gas money would be sent to single filers earning less than $75,000 per year before phasing out for those making $80,000 or more. Joint filers earning less than $150,000 would receive the payments, phasing out at $160,000.

The bill does not include information on how the payments would be funded. Other proposals, however, would put the cost of a gas rebate on large oil companies.

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., are proposing a “Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax.” The tax would charge a per barrel tax equal to 50% of the difference between the current price of a barrel of oil and its pre-pandemic average price between 2015 to 2019, CBS News reported.

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For example, if the oil price per barrel is $120, the tax would raise about $45 billion a year, providing single filers with $240 annually and joint filers with $360 each year.

A third proposal from Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., would also create a rebate based on oil company profits. The Stop Gas Price Gouging Tax and Rebate Act would provide payments through taxing this year’s profits on oil and gas. It’s unclear exactly what the payments would be.