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Fuel prices are hurting many working-class Americans, especially in places like California where the price for a gallon of gas is almost always higher than anywhere else in the United States. Citizens are asking for relief, and California’s answer is a proposed $11 billion spending bill that may help regular people with high gas prices. Here’s a look at the proposed bill, what it could mean for the average Californian, and other ways folks can save on gas right now. 

Gas prices are rising for a lot of reasons

A Chevron gas station displaying high gas prices over $7 a gallon.
High gas prices | Getty Images

As many folks may know, simply by filling up their tank, gas prices are pretty high right now, no matter where you are. There are a lot of reasons for high gas prices. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the oil-importing bans nations slapped on Russia are part of the reason. The pandemic causing oil prices to fall also means that oil companies want prices to be high to make up for their losses. 

There are more reasons, but the effects are the same either way. Millions of people are looking for ways to save money on gas, and many are asking their governments for help. This is especially true in California, as there is a huge budget surplus, so Californians expect some relief from the state. 

The proposed $11 billion spending package in California

There’s a lot of debate about what that relief would look like. According to the Office of the Governor, Governor Newsom plans to create an $11 billion relief package for Californians. The main expense in this package is direct stimulus checks to Californians, which will cost about $9 billion in total. Newsom also wants to spend $750 million to make public transit free for three months and about $1.1 billion to partially pause sales and excise taxes on gas and diesel.

The exciting part of Governor Newsom’s proposal for the people is the $9 billion in rebate checks that would be done based on car registration data. There would be no income limit, so seniors and folks who don’t file income taxes would be eligible. Owners could get up to two $400 checks, while families would get $800.

While $400 for every car owner would help pay for a lot of gas, even at California prices, there’s no guarantee that this spending plan will go through. Other lawmakers in California want to do a similar stimulus program, but those plans would use income taxes instead of using vehicle registration data. This will mean that folks without cars would get a stimulus too. The amount of money being sent out is also being debated, as some lawmakers want $200 per person, and others want $400.

Other ways Californians can combat high gas prices

No matter what happens with this proposed relief bill, there are other ways for folks to save on gas. The most significant thing people can do, other than not driving cars, is driving an EV or a hydrogen car. This is especially true in California, as California has exclusive access to a few hydrogen vehicles and some EVs. 

Charging an EV or a hydrogen car won’t be free, as folks will still have to pay for the cost of electricity or hydrogen. But it’ll almost always be cheaper than gas prices, especially gas prices in California. There are a lot of great EVs out there, too, that aren’t just Teslas. For example, folks can get a Rivian, a Kia EV6, or a Ford F-150 Lightning, among many others.


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