The president, governor and legislatures have all been working to get financial relief from gas prices to Americans. The problem is, they haven’t decided how to do that.
Earlier this year, California Governor Gavin Newsom pledged to use some of the state's nearly $100 billion budget surplus to issue gas rebates. Distribution of those rebates is where the problem arises. The governor wants to give $400 debit cards to vehicle owners.
However, the Democratic legislature’s rebuttal was to revert to pandemic-like relief checks - $200 if you make less than $125,000 with a dual-income cap at $250,000.
They have yet to come to an agreement.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon told CAL MATTERS the two sides had a “long, long weekend” of negotiations and “certainly made progress.” He said Californians can “certainly” expect to see something in the form of a gas rebate before October.
But many Californians are crossing their fingers, unsure if they’ll see that money at all.
"Like I said, I don't think I, myself, is gonna see that money and that’s not gonna solve the problem," said Lindsay Cox, California resident.
On the federal side of things, President Joe Biden called on Congress Wednesday afternoon to drop the federal gas tax. He also spoke directly to states.
"The second act I'm taking is calling on states to either suspend the state's gas tax as well or find other ways to deliver relief. States' gas tax average 30 cents a gallon," the president said.
In California, that's 50 cents.
If the suspension does happen, some experts say relief could be swift and significant.
“We could start seeing relief three to five days after these laws become effective, if they do. So it could be fairly swift. And if you total the two up, it could basically bring up to 90 cents of relief, potentially slightly more if oil prices continue falling,” explained Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis at Gasbuddy.
California's state gas tax is 51 cents, the federal one is 18 cents, and sales tax is 12 cents. Add in a couple of other costs and Californians are paying $1.30 a gallon just in taxes and fees.
No major decisions have been made yet but for California, it could be soon. Governor Newsom has to sign off on the state's budget plan by the end of this month, meaning lawmakers need to make a decision on gas relief money by then.