Newsom Pushes $400 Gas Price Relief Payments As California Fuel Prices Reach Record Levels

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California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom shared details on Wednesday regarding his effort to send $400 to California residents for each registered vehicle as gas prices skyrocket across the nation.

The $11 billion plan is set to help with the soaring costs Californians are paying for fuel. The current average price in the state is $5.88 per gallon for regular unleaded. In Los Angeles, the average price for a gallon of gas is $6.03.

Newsom’s plan allows for up to $800 per person, meaning one individual with two or more cars would receive the maximum amount. Families with cars registered in multiple family member names could receive even more.

“I appreciate Gov. Newsom’s work on developing another option to bring relief to Californians experiencing the rising cost of fuel and consumer goods,” Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said.

“The Senate is focused on ensuring that state money is targeted to those who actually need relief, and we look forward to working with Gov. Newsom, Speaker Rendon and our Legislative colleagues to quickly develop a proposal that delivers for struggling Californians,” he added.

The governor, however, tied the rise in gas prices to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine which led to a U.S. oil embargo, despite price increases since President Joe Biden entered office in 2021.

“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.

“But 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 current plan is set to send the payments in the form of $400 debit cards.

Newsom also shared information regarding the plan in a video released on Wednesday.

In addition to $400 per registered car, Californians can receive three months of free public transit.

The package noted in the governor’s statement also provides $2 billion in broader relief including:

  • $750 million in incentive grants to transit and rail agencies to provide free transit for Californians for 3 months. As a result, roughly 3 million Californians per day who take the bus, subway, or light rail won’t have to pay a fare every time they ride.
  • Up to $600 million to pause a part of the sales tax rate on diesel for one year.
  • $523 million to pause the inflationary adjustment to gas and diesel excise tax rates.

“According to the DMV, there are more than 35.8 million registered vehicles in California, though that number includes people with multiple titles. Rebates would also go to drivers who have electric cars or those with lease agreements,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

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