Gas Rebate Checks: These States and Cities Are Offering Fuel Relief
The national average for a gallon of regular gas topped $5 in June. While today’s $4.16 is still high compared to the $3.18 motorists were paying this time last year, at least they’re coughing up only $1 more per gallon instead of $2. The needle is moving in the right direction.
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Even so, gas is still expensive and general inflation has sent the cost of just about everything up across the entire economy, so ordinary people need all the help they can get. They’re mostly on their own, but millions of Americans live in the handful of states that are helping their residents pay at the pump, or are at least considering it.
Keep reading to see if your state is giving out gas rebates.
Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting for Federal Help
With fall fast approaching, it’s all but certain now that the era of federal stimulus is over. Congress is not considering any viable legislation that would authorize more direct payments and efforts to pass the Gas Rebate Act of 2022 have stalled. When President Biden proposed a three-month gas tax holiday in late June, there was widespread consensus that the plan was dead on arrival, according to Politico.
In an era defined by political polarization, not pausing the gas tax is one of the rare positions that unites leaders from both parties. The government depends on revenue from the gas tax for much-needed road maintenance and infrastructure funds, and freezing it delivers only a few pennies of relief per gallon.
Even so, a few states have instituted gas tax holidays of their own. Florida, for example, will suspend its gas tax for one month in October. New York suspended its gas tax through the end of the year.
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California Approves Rebates for the Fall
Californians have suffered the highest average gas prices in the country since the start of the fuel-inflation crisis and it remains that way today. Prices have been falling across the country and the national average is now down to less than $4.17 as of Aug. 3. But despite the widespread relief, California is the only state with an average price above $5.50 per gallon. Californians were paying more than $6.25 one month ago.
Help is still months away — but it’s coming.
In October, California will start distributing direct payments of up to $1,050 — depending on filing status and household makeup — to millions of Golden State residents. In the spring, when prices were still over $6, the governor proposed the distribution of gas cards. But lawmakers opted instead for direct cash payments that could also buy groceries, diapers and other necessities.
Proposed Rebate in North Carolina Has Been Slow To Gain Traction
It’s been more than two months since Democrats in North Carolina proposed issuing a $200 rebate to every eligible resident with a valid driver’s license in the state. The bill calls for using 20% of the state’s $6.5 billion budget surplus to fund the rebate.
While there is no political will to get behind a state gas tax holiday like the kind that President Biden has proposed at the federal level, local news affiliates have reported that at least some Republicans are considering the rebate. However, they prefer a more permanent tax cut.
Even so, all of June and July passed with no action. If that changes and the bill does prevail, residents will receive their rebates by Oct. 1.
Chicago’s Ongoing Gas Card Lottery Has a Month Left
In April, the Windy City launched the Chicago Moves program, which continues to give out 50,000 $150 gas cards and 100,000 prepaid $50 transit cards. If you’re a Chicagoan, you can still get in on the action — the program runs through September, but applicants must file by the first of the month. Recipients are chosen through a lottery.
In June, officials delayed a scheduled gas tax increase from July 1 to January 2023, which will save consumers $70 million.
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