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National average gas prices eased slightly in mid-July, falling to $4.67 from their all-time high of just under $5 in June 2022, according to AAA. The drop came despite increased demand driven by weekend travel and summer holidays. However, many Americans still struggle to fill their tanks while juggling other expenses.
Legislation to alleviate costs
Two California Democrats, Representative Ro Khanna and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, proposed the oil windfall tax in a stated effort to further reduce gasoline prices. Under the legislation, major oil companies like ExxonMobil would apparently pay a tax per barrel equal to 50% of the difference between the current price per barrel and the average price per barrel before the pandemic between 2015 and 2019.
The tax revenue would return to taxpayers earning less than $75,000 (or $150,000 in joint filing) as a quarterly refund to ease some of the lingering pain at the pump. Members of Congress estimated that single filers would receive about $240 a year and joint filers could take in about $360 a year.
However, the bill appears unlikely to pass and is meeting resistance — not just from Republicans, but from some Democrats, including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, according to Bloomberg. New York Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders have introduced complementary legislation targeting “price gouging” in the oil and gas sector, according to The Hill.
Meanwhile, many states have enacted — or are working to implement — a gasoline tax exemption to relieve high gasoline prices this summer. As recently as mid-June, President Joe Biden was still considering a federal gasoline tax exemption, a move that could save Americans up to 18 cents a gallon, GOBankingRates reported.
Tips for travelers to reduce gas costs
There are also steps you can take as a driver to increase your gas mileage, effectively reducing the amount you will need to spend on fuel each week.
“If you can’t remember the last time you checked your tire pressure, chances are it’s low,” AAA spokesman Andrew Gross told USA. Today. “If you inflate it correctly, you could save a lot of money on gas,” he said.
You can also use an app like GasBuddy to find the lowest gas prices in your neighborhood or, if you’re taking a road trip, along your route.
If you’re embarking on a cross-country trip, look at average gas prices for each state on GasPrices.AAA.com and see if you can time fuel stops in states with lower prices.
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For example, this week gas is cheaper in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee, according to AAA. You’ll find average prices below $4.30 per gallon in these states.
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