Newsom Proposes California Gas Rebate to Combat Rising Prices at the Pump

California State of the State, Sacramento, United States - 08 Mar 2022
Rich Pedroncelli / AP /

California residents pay by far the highest price for gasoline in the United States, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has signaled that he is ready to act on this particular issue. His solution? The governor has proposed a gas tax rebate to give drivers a little financial relief.

The idea was brought up during Newsom’s “State of the State” address on March 8, CNN reported. It came as residents of the Golden State brace for further price hikes likely instigated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As of March 10, the average price for regular gasoline in California was $5.694 a gallon, according to AAA. That’s well above the national average of $4.318 a gallon — which itself is a historical high. California’s average is nearly a dollar more than the second-most expensive state, Nevada, which has an average price of $4.872 a gallon.

Newsom said he plans to submit a revised budget to the California state legislature that would “put money back in Californians’ pockets to address rising gas prices.” But no details have been provided on how much the rebate would be, or when it would arrive in the bank accounts of California residents.

Senior adviser Dee Dee Myers said the rebate could total billions of dollars, Fox Business reported. It would be limited to those who have cars and reside in California.

The Democratic-controlled state legislature will have to approve Newsom’s proposals both for a tax rebate and a pause to the annual increase of the state’s gas tax. The total amount of the rebate would have to be negotiated by Newsom and California legislators.

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Meanwhile, gas prices in California and elsewhere are expected to move even higher after President Joe Biden’s March 8 announcement that the U.S. will ban imports of Russian oil, natural gas and coal.

Those high prices prompted Newsom to reiterate his desire to see California shift away from its reliance on fossil fuels.

“We need to be fighting polluters, not bolstering them,” he said during Tuesday night’s address. “And in so doing, freeing us once and for all from the grasp of petro-dictators.”

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