The national average per gallon is roughly $4 because of geopolitical difficulties. For some, it’s just a stumbling block, an annoyance to bear until prices fall again. For others, record-high gas prices make getting to work and running errands tough. That’s where the Gas Rebate Act of 2022 enters the picture.
Reps. Mike Thompson, John Larson, and Lauren Underwood introduced the Petrol Rebate Act of 2022 in Congress, which would pay $100 into Americans’ bank accounts every time the national average price for a gallon of gas exceeds $4.
Who would be eligible?
Individuals earning $75,000 or less per year, and joint filers earning $150,000 or less, will receive the gas stimulus payment if the bill passes Congress and the Senate. Additionally, dependents in these families would be entitled to a monthly payment of $100.
Individuals earning $75,000 to 80,000 per year and joint filers earning $150,000 to $160,000 per year would also be eligible for stimulus funding, though at a reduced rate. At $80,000 and $160,000, payments stop completely.
If those maximum income cutoffs look familiar, it’s because they’re the same ones that came with the first three stimulus payouts. Income will be determined by the most recent tax return submitted, as with past payments.
What we don’t know yet
There are gaps in our knowledge, as with every Congressional plan. We don’t know the details until a law passes both the House and the Senate. Here are some of the questions we’re waiting for answers to:
- To date, there has been no announcement on how the new gasoline stimulus program would be funded, whether fresh monies will be needed or existing funds will be repurposed.
- We don’t know if any Republican legislators are willing to support the measure. The measure was written by three Democratic representatives. Even if it’s in the best interests of their voters back home, today’s partisan landscape makes it tough for a lawmaker to cross party lines.
- The planned Gas Rebate Act of 2022 is set to last through the end of the year. No information on whether a clause exists allows it to be extended until 2023.
States that are ahead of the game
Regardless of whether the Democratic bill reaches President Biden’s desk, these states have already taken steps to alleviate rising gas costs by implementing tax rebates. Consider the following scenario:
Idaho citizens will get a $75 tax rebate per taxpayer and dependant, or 12% of the taxes reported on their 2020 state taxes, to assist offset the rising cost of gasoline (whichever amount is higher).
Georgia residents who filed tax returns for the years 2020 and 2021 will receive a one-time tax credit as a result of Georgia House Bill 1302. Single filers will receive $250, heads of households will receive $375, and joint filers will receive $500.
Indiana lawmakers have authorized a plan to deliver a $125 refund to residents who have filed their taxes for the year 2021. It’s not much, but it acknowledges that some people will have trouble paying for gas.
The New Mexico legislature approved a $500 refundable income tax credit for residents earning less than $150,000 per year. Single filers with a yearly income of less than $75,000 will be eligible for a $250 tax credit.
California, Maine, Hawaii, New York, Kentucky, and Minnesota are all considering relief strategies.
The status of the federal bill
While some bills move slowly via the vetting process, others move quickly. The Ways and Means Committee has been asked to look at the Gas Rebate Act of 2022. It’s easy to envision Congress not wanting to waste any time on this bill.
While none of the proposed or adopted measures would fully compensate for rising gasoline prices, they will all help in some way. Meanwhile, the following suggestions can assist a driver in reducing their gasoline consumption:
- Follow the posted speed limit. Each additional mile per hour over 50 equals about $0.30 per gallon.
- Drive with caution. Every 100 pounds added to (or on) a vehicle reduces mileage by around 1%.
- Reduce the amount of time you spend idle. A quarter to a half-gallon of fuel is consumed every half hour of idle time.
- Maintain the vehicle’s condition. The more well-kept a car is, the more fuel-efficient it will be.
- Please don’t slam on the brakes. Sudden stops and accelerations use more gas than shifting speeds gradually.
There’s nothing enjoyable about rising gas prices. This is not, however, the first time prices have risen, and it will not be the last. In the meanwhile, it makes economical sense to use as little gasoline as possible until prices fall.