WASHINGTON D.C. – The White House says that it is not ruling out the possibility of paying for your fuel at the pump by sending out gas rebate cards to Americans, but the prospect seems highly unlikely.
A White House official reportedly told FOX Business that the administration has not ruled out the distribution of gas rebate cards.
“The president has made clear that he is willing to explore all options and hear all ideas that would help lower gas prices for the American people,” the official told FOX Business.
“No decisions have been made,” the official clarified.
What are gas rebate cards?
A debit card that would be preloaded with an amount to offset the high costs of fuel, and to ease the pain at the pump, is the simple answer.
However, while this is not the first time that the administration has considered the issuance of the cards, there are some major hurdles to overcome.
- There is currently a chip shortage in America, and that even applies to the chips used in credit and debit cards.
- The funding would have to come from Congress, which will be an uphill battle.
- Fraud is a major concern, and almost impossible to ensure that the funds are used for fuel.
- And more importantly, supply and demand could exacerbate the price of fuel and create a situation where the price at the pump increases.
In March, California announced that they were moving forward with providing citizens with gas rebates. However, the program has been stalled and is taking more time to iron out the details.
Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed the gas rebates and under his plan, each registered vehicle owner would get $400 per car for up to two cars.
However, the Legislature has a different proposal, offering $200 to each taxpayer and dependent for people with incomes below $125,000.
H.D. Palmer, deputy director of the California Department of Finance, said the governor’s proposal would get money in people’s pockets faster because it would go through the Department of Motor Vehicles instead of the Franchise Tax Board, which lawmakers have proposed.
“Under the governor’s proposal, we would hire out to a contractor to be able to provide prepaid debit cards that we think, if we pass the budget in a relatively timely manner, we could get those cards out by Labor Day,” Palmer said.
According to Gas Buddy, for the eighth straight week, the nation’s average gas price has climbed, jumping 15.7 cents from a week ago to $5.01 per gallon today according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million individual price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country. The national average is up 57.1 cents from a month ago and $1.94 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 13.8 cents in the last week and stands at $5.77 per gallon.
“For the first time ever, last week saw the national average reaching the $5 per gallon mark as nearly every one of the nation’s 50 states saw prices jump. For now, the upward momentum may slow down, but we are still just one potential jolt to supply away from heading even higher,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Gasoline demand, while rising seasonally, is still well below previous records, but remains impressive with prices in all states at record levels. Should the rise in price finally start to slow demand’s rise, we could see some breathing room, but for now, it seems like Americans are proving resilient to record highs.”