People in America are pleading for additional assistance to help them pay their bills in the face of skyrocketing energy prices. According to some estimates, gas prices may increase a normal family’s bills by $2,000 each year. According to the US Energy Information Administration, prices have declined marginally in the recent week but are still more than $1.37 higher per gallon than a year ago.
Plans have been proposed in Congress to address these issues. They range from actions similar to the prior two years’ stimulus checks to a levy on profits for large oil corporations.
Reps. Mike Thompson of California, John Larson of Connecticut, and Lauren Underwood of Illinois have introduced a new bill. According to the statement, the Gas Rebate Act would provide a monthly energy rebate of $100 per person. Dependents would receive $100 per month as well. This would remain in effect as long as the national average gasoline price remained above $4 per gallon. The current national average is $4.239 per gallon.
According to Thompson, the gas stimulus would “give middle-class Americans with monthly payments to lessen the financial strain of this global crisis.” Single filers earning less than $75,000 per year would receive the full $100 rebate, but those earning up to $80,000 would see the checks phased off. Joint filers earning less than $150,000 would be eligible, with the payout phasing off at $160,000 in household income.
Are there any alternative plans?
Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, have also proposed legislation. Their goal is to tax oil company earnings and distribute them to Americans each year. This is comparable to what is already in place in Alaska, where locals get a portion of annual oil revenues as a dividend.
The so-called Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax would levy a per barrel tax equivalent to 50% of the difference between the current price of a barrel of oil and its pre-pandemic average price between 2015 and 2019. During this time period, the average price of a barrel was $57.16.
The two congressmen calculated that assuming the per barrel price remains at $120, the tax will raise nearly $45 billion each year, providing $240 to single filers and $360 to couple filers.
“As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, gas prices are skyrocketing, and fossil fuel businesses are making record profits. These corporations have generated billions of dollars and utilised the earnings to reward their own shareholders while ordinary Americans are suffering at the pump “Khanna stated in a statement.