California Governor Proposes $400 Debit Cards to Help Cover High Gas Prices

LOS ANGELES, March 11th, 2022: High gas prices. Shell gas station sign, seen through cars, showing prices of over 7 dollars a gallon.

California drivers may soon get a little relief from sky high gas prices.

On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced details of a gas rebate proposal, that includes offering direct payments to drivers with vehicles registered in the state. The money would be issued in the form of $400 debit cards per vehicle, capped at two vehicles.

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The state settled on $400 payments because the average California driver shells out about $300 in gasoline excise taxes over a year.

The program is estimated to cost $11 billion in total, according to a press release from Newsom’s office. It also includes $750 million in grants to transit and rail agencies to provide free transportation for passengers for 3 months. That means the roughly 3 million Californians per day who take the bus, subway, or light rail won’t have to pay a fare.

“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 in a statement.

“This package is also focused on protecting people from volatile gas prices, and advancing clean transportation – providing three months of free public transportation, fast-tracking electric vehicle incentives and charging stations, and new funding for local biking and walking projects,” he added.

The Newsom administration will meet with the state Legislature to negotiate details of the proposal in the coming days. Once approved, the first payments could go out in July.

The state currently has about 25 million drivers, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Newsom’s plan does not have an income cap, meaning every registered driver is eligible for the $400 rebates.

California drivers are paying an average gas price of $5.88 per gallon, per GasBuddy. That’s the highest rate in the nation.

The image above of gas prices in Los Angeles is courtesy of Shutterstock.