It feels like everything’s just way more expensive these days, doesn’t it? Yeah, that’s because it is. With inflation at the highest level we’ve seen in 41 years, one of the top things on the “costs more than it used to” list is gasoline. Paying for gas just to make it to work and back is eating a hole in Americans’ pockets day after day.
Everyone is trying to figure out how to keep gas prices in check, and one of the options on the table to beat those high gas prices is something called a gas stimulus check. Say what now? Yeah, there’s a stimulus check for almost everything these days—even gas apparently. But will this kind of gas rebate really happen? Here’s what we know so far.
What Is a Gas Stimulus Check?
It’s basically just a gas rebate check to help drivers pay for the high costs of gas. Remember those pandemic-era stimulus checks? It’s kind of like that but for gasoline prices. Gas stimulus checks have been talked about at a federal level with the something called the Gas Rebate Act of 2022—but heads up, nothing has been passed here yet. Let’s dig into this thing a little more . . .
The Gas Rebate Act of 2022
The Gas Rebate Act of 2022 is legislation that would give a $100 monthly rebate (and $100 for each dependent) to help Americans pay for high gas prices.1 The idea is that payments would continue throughout 2022 during any month when the national average gas price is $4 or more (like right now).
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Democrats have talked about the Gas Rebate Act of 2022 throughout most of 2022, but so far, not much has happened—aka basically nothing. So before you head to the pump hoping to fill up on Uncle Sam’s dime, keep that in mind. Still, we all know the government’s history of dishing out stimulus checks . . . so there’s that. Stay tuned, and we’ll let you know if the Gas Rebate Act of 2022 picks up any speed.
Who Would Qualify for a Gas Stimulus Check?
Here’s the rundown: At a federal level, gas stimulus checks would go out to individuals making $75,000 or less and joint filers with a combined income of $150,000 or less.2 So just like with other stimulus checks, you’ll have to meet income requirements to qualify.
Now, anyone making more than those income limits would still get a gas stimulus check—but for a smaller amount. And there’s a cap to this thing too. The gas stimulus check wouldn’t apply to individuals making $80,000 and above and joint filers making $160,000 or more.3
And we’re assuming you’d probably need to have a driver’s license or own a car too—just a hunch. Sorry, your kid’s bike and scooter don’t count here.
What’s the Difference Between a Gas Stimulus Check and Rebate Checks?
Good question. A gas stimulus check is a one-time check given out based on income level. On the flip side, an inflation rebate check (or inflation stimulus check) is different. Inflation stimulus checks are relief funds set aside to help taxpayers cope with the high costs of goods and gas (thanks to inflation). So far, they’ve been given out at a state level, and the money is coming from state budget surpluses (which is basically money left over from their spending budgets for the year).
Yeah, it’s pretty much clear as mud. With all this talk of stimulus checks and rebates—who can keep it all straight?
Which States and Cities Are Giving Out Gas Stimulus Checks?
Even though the federal government hasn’t passed the Gas Rebate Act of 2022, some states (and cities) are thinking about giving out their own gas stimulus checks. The list isn’t very long, but here’s who has jumped on the bandwagon so far to help people save money on gas with rebates.
California tried to make its own version of a gas stimulus happen. Governor Gavin Newsom wanted every California household with a registered car to get a $400 gas debit card. But that plan fell through, and the state compromised by pausing the gas tax on diesel fuel and by giving out inflation relief checks of $1,050.4,5
- Illinois (Chicago-only)
The Windy City is taking matters into its own hands and giving out its own version of gas stimulus checks in the form of prepaid gas cards. The city has 50,000 prepaid gas cards of $150 and 100,000 prepaid transit cards of $50 up for grabs.6 But there’s one exception here—it’s all luck of the draw. Anyone who’s interested has to submit their application on the Chicago Moves website to have a chance of being selected.
- North Carolina
There’s a proposal on the table in North Carolina that would give $200 to every driver in the Tar Heel State. Residents would have to be at least 18 years old and have a driver’s license (go figure).7
Don’t see your state on the list? Check out our other list to see if your state is having a gas tax holiday instead. And here’s a pro tip: You actually don’t need a gas stimulus check or a gas tax holiday at all if you want to start seeing more of your money stay in your pocket . . .
Forget a Gas Stimulus Check—Give Yourself a Boost
Hoping for a gas stimulus check? Here’s an idea: Don’t wait for the federal (or state) government to cut you a check. It’s time to give yourself a helping hand by making a monthly budget. Simple as that.
The truth is, most people don’t know where their money goes each month. But having a budget will show you exactly what you’re spending your hard-earned dollars on each month so you can know where to cut back. Even better? People say having a budget like EveryDollar gives them freedom—and makes them feel like they got a raise too. And that’s way more than you can say for a pesky one-time gas stimulus check, isn’t it?