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Gas stimulus money: The push for payments up to $360 continues

Leada Gore
al.com (TNS)

The national average prices for a gallon of gas in the U.S. is $4.19, up from $2.90 from a year ago. That hefty increase has lawmakers pushing for ways to buffer the pain at the pump.

There have been several proposals to provide direct stimulus payments in response to high has prices. One of these, titled the Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax, would have major oil companies footing the bill for those payments.

Introduced by Democrats Rep. Ro Khanna of California and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, the bill would levy a per-barrel tax on major oil companies “equal to 50% of the difference between the current price of a barrel of oil and the pre-pandemic average price per barrel between 2015 and 2019,” the bill noted.

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Khanna told USA Today at $120 per barrel of oil, the tax would raise some $45 billion per year. That would translate to single tax filers receiving payments of $240 per year and join filers receiving roughly $360 per year.

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

“Smaller companies accounting for roughly 70 percent of the domestic production will be exempt, so oil giants like Exxon Mobil and Chevron cannot simply gouge consumers further without the threat of losing market share,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

The tax levy isn’t the only gas-related stimulus check being proposed. Reps. Mike Thompson, D- California, John Larson, D- Connecticut, and Lauren Underwood, D- Illinois, 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.

The plan and qualifications are modeled after previous stimulus checks designed to jumpstart the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

A third proposal from Rep. Peter DeFazio, D- Oregon, 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.