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Gas price stimulus checks? Here are 3 bills being proposed

Three proposals for direct payments to Americans due to high gas prices follow similar guidelines to last year's COVID-19 stimulus, with some differences.

House Democrats have introduced multiple proposals aimed at sending direct payments to Americans to help cover high gas prices. The plans have some similarities to the one that sent $1,400 stimulus checks to millions last year during COVID-19.

The national daily average has been more than $4 per gallon for two weeks. It was $4.25 on Monday, down seven cents from a week ago, but still 72 cents higher than a month ago and $1.37 more expensive than the same date last year. 

AAA cited lower crude oil prices as one reason for the slight price drop at the pump since last week. It also said demand for gas is down, which is atypical for this time of year and may be a sign of people changing their driving habits.

Energy rebate checks to Americans similar to third stimulus payment

One proposal by Reps. Mike Thompson of California, John Larson of Connecticut and Lauren Underwood of Illinois would send what they call an energy rebate of $100 per month for individuals or $200 to couples, plus $100 for each dependent, for each month the national gas price exceeds $4 per gallon. The rebate would be in effect though the end of 2022.

The payments would go to people based on their income and would follow the same guidelines as the 2021 Economic Impact Payments: Single filers earning up to $75,000 or married couples filing jointly earning up to $150,000 would be eligible.

A statement on Thompson's website did not explain how it would be paid for.

2 gas price credit proposals target big oil to pay for them

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., announced the Stop Gas Price Gouging Tax and Rebate Act. The bill does not use the national gas price average as a measuring stick but does call for households to receive a monthly advance tax credit, similar to last year's monthly child tax credit. The money would come from taxing oil companies for what DeFazio calls "excessive corporate profits."

"Big Oil will pay a one-time, 50 percent windfall profit tax on any adjusted taxable income (ATI) in 2022 that exceeds 110 percent of their average ATI during pre-pandemic levels between 2015-2019," DeFazio said in a press release.

The size of the payments to Americans would be based on how much money is raised by the tax on the oil companies.

A similar bill introduced March 10 also targets big oil companies, but calls for quarterly payments to Americans who meet the same income thresholds.

The extra tax would hit large oil companies that produce or import at least 300,000 barrels of oil per day, or did in 2019. Rep. Ro Khanna of California, one of the two main sponsors, said the companies "will owe a per-barrel tax 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."

Khanna said it would impact companies such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron, but smaller oil companies would be exempt.

He estimates that at $120 per barrel of oil, it would result in single filers getting $240 per year and joint filers receiving $360. 

Brent, the international standard for crude oil, surged $2.92 to $118.54 Monday.

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