On Friday, multiple news outlets reported that the Biden administration had recently been mulling a new stimulus package that would send cashback cards to Americans to help offset rising gas prices.
The Washington Post wrote that top White House aides recently revisited a plan to send gas discount cards to American households after the administration decided against it months earlier. Fox Business also reported that an unnamed official said the Biden administration is considering cashback cards, though the Job says there are issues delaying the plan.
A sticking point is that officials are said to be concerned that consumers will use the cards to purchase items other than gasoline. The other is that recent shortages in the chip industry may create a barrier to the physical production of the cards.
CNN also quoted an official familiar with the matter as saying the administration of the cards and speculation about how the money would be spent are the main hurdles currently preventing the plan from being lit. One would also have thought that congressional Republicans would not approve of such a stimulus package.
Newsweek contacted the White House for comment.
Another problem with the stimulus checks is that they have been cited as one of the contributing factors to the current inflation spike. Financial experts have blamed an influx of stimulus cash for causing an imbalance between supply and demand, as the amount of goods available does not currently meet the desires of Americans looking to spend more.
In an attempt to better balance the relationship of supply and demand, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced its largest interest rate hike in 28 years. This decision was made to make consumers spend less due to the higher rates. Americans with more stimulus money to spend could potentially run counter to that logic.
In March, Axios reported that the White House had discussed gas cards but shelved the idea. The outlet quoted an unnamed aide as saying that even some House Democrats had expressed opposition to the concept. Other factors for not proceeding with the plan at that time included not wanting to expand the IRS, which would be responsible for the distribution, and fear that it would worsen inflation.
On Friday, the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $5, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). Earlier this week, AAA recorded the highest figure ever for regular gasoline at $5,016. By comparison, the average price was $3,075 this time last year.
Recent polls show Americans feeling frustrated about paying more at the pump, and Democrats may be feeling the brunt of their anger.
A survey published last week among The Washington Post and the Schar School at George Mason University found that about 44% of US drivers reported only partially filling their vehicle’s gas tank due to high gas prices.
Meanwhile, an ABC News/Ipsos poll released earlier this month found that 74% of American adults said gas prices would be an “extremely” or “very” important factor in their vote in elections. midterm congressional elections in the fall.