Friday , 27 May 2022

Relief at the pumps is here for Albertans

Alberta’s government is no longer collecting the provincial fuel tax while oil prices are high.

Drivers will save the 13-cent provincial fuel tax on every litre of gasoline or diesel they purchase.

With the corresponding reduction in GST, this amounts to total savings of about $6.80 per tank for a compact car (50 litres), $7.21 for a small SUV (53 litres), $12.65 for a mid-size SUV (93 litres), $18.50 for a large pickup truck (136 litres) and $185.50 for a semi-trailer (1,364 litres).

The measure is in effect now and will remain in place until at least June 30. The government will consider the future of the tax, based on a sliding scale of the price of West Texas Intermediate crude.

“Alberta’s government is pleased to implement a measure that will provide real economic relief to Alberta families and businesses alike,” Premier Jason Kenney said in a news release. Elevated fuel prices don’t just impact Alberta drivers, they influence the price we pay for almost every service and product that relies on transportation to be rendered or delivered. With the provincial government’s intervention, all Albertans will now reap the benefits of money saved at the pumps and beyond.”

In providing relief at the pumps to Albertans, the government will see an estimated $100 to $115 million decrease in fuel tax revenue for each of the first three months.

Albertans will see further relief through other cost-saving measures to be introduced in the coming months:

  • Alberta’s government will provide $150 in electricity rebates to more than one million eligible homes, farms and businesses that have been affected by above-average consumption costs over the past several months.
  • A natural gas relief program, announced as part of Budget 2022, will see eligible consumers receive a rebate when natural gas prices exceed $6.50 per gigajoule starting in October.
  • Further details about both programs will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We recognize the significant challenges rising inflation and high energy costs create for Alberta families and businesses,” Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance said.Alberta is already one of the most affordable provinces to live in, and this relief measure serves to reaffirm the Government of Alberta’s commitment to maintaining that affordability for anyone living or doing business here.”

Alberta NDP says fuel tax pause not enough for struggling families

Despite some gas stations providing relief at the pump due to the fuel tax pause, it’s not enough to help Alberta families with the added costs from the UCP government.

On Friday, the fuel tax rebate took effect. While prices dipped at some gas stations, in many places the prices were unchanged.

“I’ve been getting messages from Albertans all morning who aren’t seeing any price relief at their local gas station. And one thing we all know about gas prices is that they move around continuously. We’ll have to wait and see if price dips survive more than a few days,” said NDP Energy Critic Kathleen Ganley.

“Over the past few days, I’ve been asking the UCP how they will ensure that their pause on the gas tax will actually be passed along to Alberta families and not just swallowed up by retailers.”

Alberta’s NDP called for a third-party audit to demonstrate whether savings were actually passed on to Albertans for the life of this program.

The UCP ignored this request.

Even under the best-case scenario, the provincial gas tax represents a tiny fraction of the costs the UCP has piled on families and businesses through car insurance, utility bills, higher taxes and increased fees.

Some Albertans have seen car insurance increases as high as 30 per cent.

The UCP “natural gas rebate” turned out to be fake, and they’re offering only a $50 rebate on electricity bills despite Albertans paying hundreds of dollars more per month – an amount that even UCP MLA for Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland Shane Getson called “paltry.”

“In the Legislature, we’ve been pressing the UCP to offer real help to Albertans, especially in light of the huge windfall in terms of resource revenue, but they refused and passed a no-help budget,” said Ganley. “This government is taking money out of the pockets of families and businesses at every turn. Albertan’s can’t trust the UCP.”

Has high gas prices been affecting your travel? How have you saved gas? Let Lakeland Connect know in the comment section.

About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is an award winning journalist and is from Whitbourne Newfoundland. Green graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, River Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner and can fillet a Codfish.