Because of geopolitical concerns, the national average per gallon is around $4. For some, it’s just a hiccup, a vexing expense to bear until prices fall again. Others find it difficult to get to work and run daily errands due to record-high gas prices. This is where the Gas Rebate Act of 2022 comes into play.
The Gas Rebate Act of 2022, introduced in Congress by Reps. Mike Thompson, John Larson, and Lauren Underwood, would deposit $100 into Americans’ bank accounts whenever the national average price of 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 through Congress and the Senate. In addition, dependents in these families would be eligible for a monthly payment of $100.
Individuals earning between $75,000 and $80,000, and joint filers earning between $150,000 and $160,000, would also be eligible for stimulus funds, albeit at a lower level. Payments are completely phased out at $80,000 and $160,000.
If those maximum income cutoffs look familiar, it’s because they were attached to the first three stimulus payments. Income, like previous payments, will be determined by the most recent tax return filed.
What we don’t know yet
There are gaps in what we know, as with any Congressional proposal. We won’t know the specifics until a bill passes both the House and the Senate. Here are some of the questions we’d like to have answered:
There has been no word on how the new gasoline stimulus programme will be funded, whether new funds will be needed, or if money set aside for other projects will be repurposed.
We don’t know if any Republican lawmakers are willing to sign on to the proposal. The bill was designed by three Democratic representatives. Today’s partisan environment makes it difficult for a legislator to cross party lines, even if it is in the best interests of their constituents back home.
The proposed Gas Rebate Act of 2022 is set to expire at the end of 2022. There is no word on whether a provision exists that allows it to be extended until 2023.
States that are ahead of the curve
Regardless of whether the Democratic bill reaches President Biden’s desk, these states have already addressed the issue of high gas prices by approving tax rebates. As an example:
Idaho residents will receive a tax rebate of $75 per taxpayer and dependent, or 12 percent of the taxes reported on their 2020 state taxes, to help offset the price of gasoline (whichever amount is higher).
Georgia residents who filed tax returns in 2020 and 2021 will receive a one-time tax credit as a result of Georgia House Bill 1302. Single filers can expect a $250 tax credit, heads of households a $375 tax credit, and joint filers a $500 tax credit.
Indiana lawmakers have approved a plan to refund $125 to residents who have filed their 2021 taxes. It’s not much, but it recognises the difficulty some people will have paying for gas.
State of New Mexico
The New Mexico legislature voted to provide a $500 refundable income tax rebate to state residents earning less than $150,000 per year. Single filers earning less than $75,000 per year will receive $250.
California, Maine, Hawaii, New York, Kentucky, and Minnesota are also considering relief plans.
Where the federal bill currently stands
While some bills move at a glacial pace, others move at a breakneck pace. The Ways and Means Committee has been asked to look into the Gas Rebate Act of 2022. It’s easy to imagine that Congress will not want to hold off on passing this bill for long.
While none of the proposed or enacted legislation will completely cover the cost of inflated gasoline prices, they will all provide some relief. Meanwhile, the following tips can assist a driver in reducing the amount of gasoline they use:
- Drive at the posted speed limit. Every mile per hour in excess of 50 equals about $0.30 per gallon.
- Drive with caution. Every additional 100 pounds in (or on) a vehicle reduces mileage by about 1%.
- Reduce your idling time. Every half-hour of idle time consumes a quarter to a half-gallon of fuel.
- Maintain the vehicle’s condition. The better maintained a vehicle, the more fuel-efficient it will be.
- Avoid slamming on the brakes. Stopping and accelerating abruptly consumes more gas than gradually changing speed.
Nothing about high gas prices is enjoyable. However, this is not the first time that prices have risen, and it will not be the last. In the meantime, it makes financial sense to use as little gasoline as possible until prices fall.