As states move to pass bills to suspend gas taxes or issue stimulus checks, rebates or tax credits to their residents, Congress is considering some proposals that could bring relief to Americans.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) reported that the average cost of gasoline in the United States is around $4.15 per gallon, slightly lower than in March when gasoline peaked at $4.31. Although it is still 56 cents more than in February, when the average was $3.54. Also, prices are $1.36 higher than a year ago.
California has the highest price at $5.81, followed by Hawaii ($5.23), Nevada ($5.15), Alaska ($4.72), Washington ($4.70), Oregon ($4.67), Arizona ($4.63), Utah ($4.51), Idaho ($4.42) and Illinois ($4.39).
As we explained in a previous article, for now, neither the administration of President Joe Biden nor Congress plans to send more stimulus checks for 2022. However, the House of Representatives is considering some bills that would offer direct help to Americans to offset high fuel prices.
The aid lawmakers are proposing would be similar to stimulus checks issued during the peak of the pandemic.
Here we explain some of the projects on the table.
QUARTERLY PAYMENTS OF THE TAX ON EXTRAORDINARY GAINS FROM PETROLEUM
In early March, Rep. Ro Khanna and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse introduced a bill that would impose a windfall profit tax on Big Oil in order to “curb company speculation.”
Lawmakers are considering taxing big oil companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron to give that money to Americans as a quarterly payment.
It would be a 50 percent tax on profits oil companies make above the price of $66 a barrel, which lawmakers say was the average price of oil between 2015 and 2019, which are pre-pandemic levels.
Khanna and Whitehouse propose returning half of the tax revenue to consumers in the form of a refund.
Whitehouse told reporters the aid would amount to a payment of $240 to individual contributors and $360 to joint contributors next year, but only if the price of oil “holds at $120 a barrel.”
The plan follows the same guidelines as the economic impact payments: recipients would be individual filers earning up to $75,000 or joint filers earning up to $150,000.
“This is a bill to lower gasoline prices and hold Big Oil accountable. As the Russian invasion of Ukraine sends gas prices soaring, fossil fuel companies are making record profits. These companies have made billions and used the profits to enrich their own shareholders, while the average American is having a hard time,” Khanna said in a press release.
The tax would apply to oil companies that produce or import at least 300,000 barrels of oil per day and is estimated to raise approximately $45 billion per year.
Open here for more details on the proposal.
GASOLINE PRICE REFUND LAW
Rep. Peter DeFazio introduced the Stop Gas Price Rise Tax and Refund Act on March 16, which would tax oil companies for “excessive corporate profits” and give the proceeds to Americans as a monthly tax credit. advanced.
Oil companies would pay a one-time 50% windfall tax on income that exceeds 110% of their pre-pandemic income.
Single taxpayers making up to $75,000 and married taxpayers filing jointly making up to $150,000 would get the help.
“This is not the time to speculate or raise prices. This is why I introduced the Stop Exploitative Gasoline Price Taxes and Refunds Act. My legislation would tax Big Oil’s excess profits in 2022 and return the income to Americans,” DeFazio said in a statement.
“As gas prices soared in 2021, the largest oil and gas companies made record combined profits of $205 billion in 2021. According to a report published today by Accountable.US, Exxon Mobil, the oil and gas company largest gas company in the US, reported more than $23 billion in profit in 2021 alone, which represented a 60% increase compared to its $14 billion profit in 2019,” the proposal reads.
GAS REIMBURSEMENT ACT OF 2022
Representatives Mike Thompson, John Larson and Lauren Underwood introduced the Gas Rebate Act of 2022 last month, which proposes giving Americans an “energy rebate” of $100 per month, plus $100 for each dependent, this for each month the national average price of gasoline to exceed $4 per gallon through 2022.
“Americans are feeling the impact of Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and right now we must work together on common sense political solutions to ease the financial burden felt by my constituents,” Thompson said in a statement.
“Putin’s price gouging is putting pressure on our economy, and I’m proud to work with Representatives Larson and Underwood to introduce this legislation to provide middle-class Americans with monthly payments to ease the financial burden of this global crisis.”
The beneficiaries would be single filers earning up to $75,000 or joint filers earning up to $150,000.
Open here to see the proposal.