Personally I think it's a bribe for votes and has some pretty significant unintended consequences: It tends to curtail conservation and increases the deficit. And think of the moral implications: who gets the greatest benefit? Those who guzzle the most gas! Too bad for you, Prius owners! (I knew I should have bought a Hummer!)
I understand the desire to put more money in the pockets of the average American to help boost the economy out of a recession, but if you're going to borrow to money at the federal level to jump start the economy, cash is always better.
On the other hand, if I think of the taxi drivers and pizza delivery guys, this does benefit those who are hurt the most by the shock of steeply higher fuel prices. So, maybe this is a great surgical solution to an economic externality. I just can't decide.