In an effort to cushion the blow of elevated gas prices, the Biden administration considered sending out prepaid gas cards to American families, according to Axios. The White House, though, eventually decided that the plan was not “feasible.”
“There’s a variety of ideas being discussed to ensure that the costs American families are feeling at the pump are as minimal as possible,” White House spokesperson Vedant Patel told Axios. “However, gas cards being sent to the American people is not seriously under consideration. It is not an administratively feasible solution and the Biden administration is not considering this as a serious option to help American families.”
According to CNN Business, the White House is “worried that gas cards won’t work because of execution issues and fraud concerns. In the past, cards have been stolen from mailboxes.”
Gas Prices Stay Elevated
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has taken issue with the slow pace of drop in gas prices as oil prices have fallen from recent highs.
“Oil prices are decreasing, gas prices should too,” Biden recently tweeted. “Last time oil was $96 a barrel, gas was $3.62 a gallon. Now it’s $4.31. Oil and gas companies shouldn’t pad their profits at the expense of hard-working Americans.”
The administration has already confirmed the release of oil from emergency stockpiles in a coordinated action with the International Energy Agency. However, efforts to get OPEC to ramp up production have not been successful.
Efforts on State Level
Despite the lack of direct help from Washington, there are meaningful steps being taken on the state level. For example, Maryland became the first state late last week to suspend its gas tax after Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill that waived the 36.1 cents per gallon tax on gasoline for 30 days.
“This is, of course, not a cure-all, and market instability will continue to lead to fluctuations in prices, but we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to provide relief for Marylanders,” Hogan said in a statement.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a similar legislation that threw out the state’s 29 cents per gallon tax on gas through May. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is currently pushing for a temporary suspension of its gas tax.
Gas rebates are being looked at as well. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic lawmakers are spearheading efforts to approve $400 gas rebates to all state residents, while Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is urging lawmakers to pass $500 rebate checks instead of a 28-cent per gallon gas tax holiday.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.