Gas prices: Alberta pauses provincial fuel tax, B.C. won’t commit to same

As gas prices continue to skyrocket, the Alberta government is trying to give people some relief.

On Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the province will be pausing its 13 cents per litre tax on gas and diesel. Marked gasoline and marked diesel will also be affected.

“Alberta will end the collection of the provincial fuel tax, this means the price at the pump will drop by 13 cents a litre, putting money back into the pockets of Albertans,” Kenney said.

The changes will come into effect April 1.

The average cost of gasoline in Alberta is close to $1.60/l, while the national average is around $1.80/l. In B.C., especially in Metro Vancouver, prices as high as $2.099/l have been recorded.

B.C. continues to point to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

When asked if his government plans to follow suit, B.C. Deputy Premier and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth would not commit.

“The only planned increase is the one-cent a litre on April 1,” he said. “One of the challenges on that taxation side … there’s no guarantee that the price stays down and fuel companies don’t just jack the price up to take advantage of the margin that you may have created.”

Farnworth maintains the gas price “situation” is beyond B.C.’s control.

“The reality is that there is significant instability in the energy markets on a global basis, directly related to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” he said, adding there’s no simple solution.

In Alberta, Kenney criticized the federal carbon tax several times on Monday, saying it needs to end rather than increase.

“We’ve heard Albertans’ concerns about the rising cost of living loud and clear. While the federal government is set to increase the carbon tax [on] April 1, Alberta’s government is taking the opposite approach and stepping up to offer relief,” Kenney added.

He notes the federal carbon tax rate on gas will increase in April from around nine cents a litre to 11 cents.

Alberta rebate for electricity use

Alberta has also announced a $150 rebate for this past winter. Households and small businesses which consumed less than 250MWh of electricity will be eligible for the rebate.

Kenney says it may take a while for the rebate to be issued as there are 45 energy providers they have to deal with. The rebates will be three separate $50 rebates applied directly to bills.

The government says more than one million homes, farms, and businesses will receive the rebate.

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Earlier on Monday, the Alberta’s opposition NDP said it would introduce an emergency motion calling on Kenney to suspend the provincial gas tax for three months, introduce an immediate rebate energy program or reintroduce a rate cap, and provide Albertans a rebate for natural gas with lower thresholds than what the government has previously proposed.

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