RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – With the help of Sen. Minority Leader Dan Blue (D-Wake), Greensboro state Sen. Michael Garrett took his idea for a gas tax rebate onto the public stage on Thursday.

Garrett, Blue and Sen. Sydney Batch (D-Wake) last week filed Senate Bill 897, which they called the Gas Tax Rebate Act of 2022, to specify the state give a $200 rebate to every licensed adult driver.

Garrett said in a text message that he was “keeping the pressure on” about his bill. “But it was a busy week, focused on Medicaid expansion and medical cannabis,” he said.

Gas prices have spiked to record highs. Though they were down slightly in the weekly analysis by Gasbuddy.com, they are surging rapidly toward a national average of $5 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.

Michael Garrett
State Sen. Michael Garrett

“The level of inflation has wiped out typical pay raises,” Garrett said at the press conference.

The bill, he suggests, can be funded by spending $1.3 billion of the roughly $4.241 billion in surplus revenue the state has collected.

The bill stipulates that to qualify for the rebate, a person must be a licensed driver residing in North Carolina and at least 18 as of March 31. The bill would become effective on July 1, and the state would distribute the rebate by no later than Oct. 1.

“We need to get creative, and we need to do things a little bit differently,” Blue said at the press conference.

“It’s not a solution to the problem,” Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) said. “I don’t know that it’s really something that helps all that much.”

Six other Democratic senators, including Gladys Robinson of Greensboro and Val Foushee and Natalie Murdock of Durham, signed on as cosponsors.

The average gas price in North Carolina as of Tuesday was $4.42, based on Gasbuddy.com’s weekly survey of thousands of fuel outlets. In Greensboro, that average was $4.31, down 4.3 cents from last week but up 37.4 cents from a month ago.

But on Thursday the coast was back up to about $4.40 a gallon.

The national average price of gasoline rose 0.9 cents per gallon last week, averaging $4.60. That’s 42.8 cents higher than a month ago.