A gallon of gas costs $4.19 on average in the United States, up from $2.90 a year earlier. With such a large increase, lawmakers are looking for measures to alleviate the agony at the pump.
In response to high prices, numerous ideas have been made to grant direct stimulus funds. The Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax, for example, would make major oil firms responsible for those payments.
The bill, introduced by California Democrats Ro Khanna and Sheldon Whitehouse, would impose a per-barrel tax on major oil companies “equal to 50 percent of the difference between the current price of a barrel of oil and the pre-pandemic average price per barrel between 2015 and 2019,” according to the bill.
According to Khanna, a tax of $120 per barrel of oil would raise $45 billion every year. Single filers would receive $240 per year, while joint filers would receive $360 per year.
“Smaller companies accounting for around 70% of domestic production would be exempt,” the senators stated in a statement, “so oil giants like Exxon Mobil and Chevron cannot simply exploit consumers further without fear of losing market share.”
The tax levy isn’t the only proposal for a gas-related stimulus package. Reps. Mike Thompson (D-California), John Larson (D-Connecticut), and Lauren Underwood (D-Illinois) presented the Gas Rebate Act of 2022, which would provide $100 per month for adults and $100 per month for each dependant for the rest of 2022 if the national average gas price exceeds $4 per gallon.
The approach and eligibility requirements are based on past stimulus checks used to kickstart the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The gas money would be sent to single filers earning less than $75,000 per year, similar to the earlier stimulus payments, before phasing out for those earning $80,000 or more. Payments would be made to joint filers earning less than $150,000, with payments phasing out at $160,000.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, has proposed a third bill that would create a rebate based on oil company profits. The Stop Gas Price Gouging Tax and Rebate Act would fund payments by taxing oil and gas revenues for the current year. It’s unknown how much money would be paid.