UCP earns praise from taxpayers group for low gasoline tax

The average price at the pump in Alberta is $1.39 per litre, compared to $1.94 in Vancouver

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The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is applauding Alberta for the continued suspension of the provincial fuel tax that allows the province to have the lowest levy in the country.

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CTF released its 25th annual Gas Tax Honesty report on Thursday.

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“Right now, Alberta is best in class,” said Kris Sims, Alberta director for the CTF. “Alberta is paying the lowest gas taxes in all of Canada and that’s for one simple reason — that’s because Premier Danielle Smith has suspended the fuel tax, so we’re saving 13 cents per litre of gasoline.”

The province previously announced the tax holiday would be extended until the end of this year.

With the average price at the pump in Alberta at $1.39 per litre at the time of the report, 31 cents of the total, or 22 per cent, is taxes. Compared to Vancouver where the gas price is $1.94, 78 cents of the total, or 40 per cent, is taxes.

A standard 64-litre fill-up in Alberta costs $88.79 with $19.78 in taxes; in Vancouver the cost is $124.46 with $49.64 in taxes.

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Manitoba had the second-lowest levy in the country at 29 per cent, while Saskatchewan was 30 per cent.

With the August long weekend approaching, the average price of gas in Calgary on Thursday afternoon was 144.2, according to gasbuddy.com, up 2.7 cents from last month but down 17.9 from this time last year.

The Canadian average is 167.6 cents per litre. B.C has the most expensive gas in the country at 190.5, with Vancouver topping out at 202.3.

The CTF noted gas prices will be under pressure through 2030 with the federal carbon tax to rise to $170 per tonne of carbon dioxide emission. The carbon tax currently is $65 per tonne.

Franco Terrazzano, federal director for CTF, said this will continue to hit Albertans whether they are filling up their car, heating their business with natural gas or drying grain on the farm with propane.

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“Instead of escaping the punishment of a carbon tax, Canadian families just have less money in their budgets for other important things like . . . the kids’ university education,” he said. “We have to understand that a carbon tax increasing the cost on Canadians does nothing to reduce emissions in places like China or India or Russia or the United States.”

He also pointed to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard that took effect July 1 as a concern. The LCFS sets standards to be phased in for producers, requiring them to have a certain level of additives such as ethanol in fuel to lower emissions. It is believed those added costs will also be passed on to consumers, though it has yet to affect the price of fuel.

Terrazzano pointed to a Parliamentary Budget Office report that said the two prices on carbon would cost the average household in Alberta about $3,900, which includes rebates for the carbon tax. There is no rebate for the LCFS.

Blake Shaffer, an economics professor with the University of Calgary, said it is often overlooked that as the carbon tax increases, so do rebates to most Canadians.

“The struggle, of course, for folks is the mismatch in timing and the mismatch in salience,” he said. “One of them they see at the pump weekly, and the other one is a line item on a direct deposit that comes in quarterly that they might not even notice.”

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Twitter: @JoshAldrich03

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