California Gas Stimulus Checks: Gov. Newsom Proposes $800 Energy Rebate for Residents

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Coronavirus stimulus checks seem to be a thing of the past as rising gas prices have pushed lawmakers to focus on gas stimulus checks. The latest to do so is Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has come up with a plan for California gas stimulus checks. Newsom plans to give $400 per vehicle to state residents, for a maximum of two vehicles.

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California Gas Stimulus Checks: Who Will Get Them And How Much?

On Wednesday, Newsom proposed an $11 billion relief package to help residents facing higher gas prices. The relief package includes sending registered car owners California gas stimulus checks of $400 per vehicle, capped at two vehicles. This means a household could get up to $800 in energy rebates.

“The tax refund will take the form of $400 debit cards for registered vehicle owners, and individuals will be eligible to receive up to two payments,” the proposal says.

Gas prices are among the highest in California. According to AAA, the average price per gallon in the state on Wednesday was at $5.87. California drivers, on average, spend around $300 in gas taxes per year.

“We’re taking immediate action to get money directly into the pockets of Californians who are facing higher gas prices as a direct result of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” Newsom said.

There is no income cap to qualify for the California gas stimulus checks. The eligibility is based on vehicle registration and not tax records to ensure seniors getting Social Security Disability income and low-income non-tax filers also qualify for the stimulus payment.

The Newsom administration is expected to negotiate the proposal with the Legislature in the coming days. If the proposal is approved by the state Legislature, the first California gas stimulus checks could go out as soon as July. The California gas stimulus checks could cost the state an estimated $9 billion.

Newsom’s Proposal: What More Does It Include?

Newsom’s proposal also includes $2 billion in broader relief, including $750 million in incentive grants to transit and rail agencies to offer free transit for three months to Californians. This means about 3 million Californians, who travel by bus, subway, or light rail, won’t have to pay anything for three months.

The $2 billion broader relief also includes up to $600 million to partly pause the sales tax rate on diesel for one year. Also, the proposal sets aside $523 million to pause the inflationary adjustment to gas and diesel excise tax rates.

Separately, Newsom also proposes $500 million to support active transportation projects, including walking and biking. There is also a proposal to fast-track a part of the Governor’s $10 billion ZEV package, which aims to lower the state’s dependence on oil by investing more in ZEV passenger vehicles and developing charging infrastructure throughout the state.