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SAN DIEGO – California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a gas rebate Wednesday, including up to two $400 direct payments for car owners who have electric and gas vehicles registered in the state.

Of the $11 billion in the proposal, $9 billion would go straight to qualified Californians in the form of a debit card.

“That means that people then are going to have to go out and spend that money,” University of San Diego Economics Professor Alan Gin said.

That means $9 billion would go directly into the economy, which would be a big help, he said. Gin estimates for every penny gas prices rise in San Diego County, $1 million is lost in the economy.

“If gas prices are up $1, that’s $100 million a month then, out of the local economy,” he said. “People are spending that on gas when they could’ve been going out to eat or buying things. This, then, will help replace some of that money.”

Gin called the proposal a better move economically compared to separate proposals to cut the state’s gas tax, as concerned gas companies would pocket some of that money.

But with this proposal, payments wouldn’t go out until at least July.

Some Republicans argue it’s not soon enough, though Gin said economically speaking, it could actually work in the public’s favor.

“If there’s any fortunate thing is that the economy is kind of hot right now,” he said. “You don’t want to pay these higher gas prices, but at least at this point, I think the economy could withstand those higher prices. Maybe a few months down the line, people will have spent so much on the higher gas prices that they’ll need a boost. This, then, could come at the right time for that.”