Senior White House aides are again looking at whether rebate cards could be sent to millions to help them pay for gas, The Washington Post has reported.
The officials had previously ruled out the rebate cards after they realized shortages in the U.S. chip industry would make it difficult to produce enough of them, the newspaper said. In addition, the officials were concerned there was no way to stop people from using them for purchases other than gas.
But the Post noted that even if President Joe Biden approves such a plan, it would likely need congressional approval. The odds are against it since many lawmakers are concerned about spending more money.
Still, the administration is desperate to show it is trying to address Americans’ frustrations about soaring gas prices, the Post said.
The White House has also looked at invoking the Defense Production Act. The move would be aimed at moving diesel and other refined products in the event there are localized shortages. But experts say shortages do not appear to be likely right now.
The renewed effort by the administration to come up with a plan to help drivers comes as the average price of gas recently rose above $5 for the first time.
Officials are also studying whether to tell governors to reduce or waive their gas taxes. But no final decisions have been made.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has called an emergency meeting with refining executives for next week. The meeting comes as tensions between the administration and Big Oil continue to grow.
Biden has demanded that oil refining companies explain why they are not putting more fuel on the market as they take in windfall profits.
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