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Transportation and Mobility

California Democrats Propose A $400 Gas Rebate. Republicans Want The Gas Tax Suspended

A bus with the lighted sign 96 VIA L.A. ZOO passes by a Chevron station where the price of a gallon of regular gas is $6.95. L.A. City Hall is lighted in the background.
High gas prices at a downtown L.A. Chevron station on March 7.
(Mario Tama
Getty Images)
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More than a week after Gov. Gavin Newsom promised to give money back to Californians amid rising prices at the pump, some state lawmakers are proposing a $400 gas rebate to all taxpayers within the state.

The average price of gasoline has increased more than $1.11 per gallon over the span of 24 days. The latest pain at the pump shows a gallon of regular, unleaded gas is averaging $5.90 in Los Angeles County and $5.86 in Orange County.

So why $400? Irvine Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris says the rebate would be equivalent to suspending the state's 51 cents per gallon excise tax for a year.

"What we are seeing now with this precipitous increase in oil and gas prices has been really driven by an unprecedented shock and the war in Ukraine, which is why we think that it is an appropriate measure to provide direct relief to address those spiking gas prices," Petrie-Norris said.

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Several Republican leaders rallied behind the gas measure, but some want to go a step further by suspending California's gas tax, that 51 cents per gallon cost Petrie-Norris based the rebate on.

Democratic leaders strongly oppose suspending the state's gas tax, which helps pay for infrastructure repairs, including roads and bridges.

Woodland Hills Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel points out there's no guarantee that suspending the gas tax would pass savings along to drivers.

Gabriel argues that the gas rebate is a better incentive because the money would go directly to consumers.

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"We want to make sure that we're putting money in the pockets of working families, not in the hands of oil companies and not foreign dictators," he said.

Lawmakers hope to have a bill on Newsom's desk by spring.

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