National average gas prices have fallen slightly in mid-July, down to $4.67 from their record high of just under $5 in June 2022, according to AAA. The drop occurred in spite of increased demand sparked by holiday weekend travel and summer vacations. However, many Americans are still struggling to fill their tanks while juggling other expenses.
Legislation To Ease Costs
Two California Democrats, Rep. Ro Khanna and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, have proposed the Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax in a stated effort to reduce gas prices further. Under the legislation, large oil companies like ExxonMobil would ostensibly pay a per-barrel tax equal to 50% of the difference between the current price per barrel and the pre-pandemic average price per barrel between 2015 and 2019.
Tax revenue would go back to taxpayers earning less than $75,000 (or $150,000 filing jointly) as a quarterly rebate to alleviate some of the ongoing pain at the pump. The congresspersons estimated that single filers would get roughly $240 per year, and that joint filers could cash in on about $360 annually.
However, the bill seems unlikely to pass and is encountering resistance — not just from Republicans but from some Democrats, including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, according to Bloomberg. New York Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders have introduced complementary legislation targeting “price gougers” in the oil and gas sector, per The Hill.
In the meantime, many states have enacted — or are working on implementing — a gas tax holiday to provide some relief from high gas prices this summer. As recently as mid-June, President Joe Biden was still considering a federal gas tax holiday, a move which could save Americans as much as 18 cents a gallon, GOBankingRates reported.
Tips for Travelers To Reduce Gas Costs
There are also measures you can take as a driver to increase your gas mileage, effectively reducing the amount you’ll have to spend on fuel each week.
“If you can’t remember the last time you checked your tire pressure, there’s a good chance it’s low,” AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross told USA Today. “If you inflate it properly you could save a lot of money on gas,” he said.
You can also use an app like GasBuddy to find the lowest gas prices in your neighborhood or, if you’re taking a road trip, along your route.
If you’re embarking on a cross-country journey, review the average gas prices for each state at GasPrices.AAA.com and see if you can time fuel stops in states where prices are lower.
For instance, this week gas costs less in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee, according to AAA. You’ll find average prices under $4.30 a gallon in these states.
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