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Is the carbon tax the reason behind high gas prices?

The carbon tax is an easy target, but the policy is only a part of the gas price picture.

Carbon taxes are taxes placed on fossil fuels and gasoline. The purpose is to make the price of gas insanely high, which makes people not want to pay for it. In the end, the goal is to reduce carbon emissions. Carbon taxes continue to be rolled out throughout the world. My province of British Columbia has had a carbon tax since 2008. So, is it working?

No one likes paying more money for anything, and taxes are rarely popular, but that’s the point. After the tax was introduced, fuel consumption fell. That might indicate that the strategy is working. Over the last five years, B.C. fossil fuel consumption was reduced by 17.4%. Two different lower mainland resident who spoke to 8forty for this article stated that they tend to avoid filling their tank up entirely as a result of the ridiculous prices, but then wind up spending more because they are making more trips to the gas station.

But where is the money from the carbon tax going? Are governments getting rich off the backs of the working class? In fact, more than half of the money goes towards the increase in support for moving towards energy efficiency. The rest of the money gets reinvested into the economy. When BC introduced the tax, they introduced other tax cuts at the same time, to even out the overall tax burden. Taxes were shifted rather than increased.

But that may not be much comfort to young drivers who just got their novice license and can legally drive without their parents, but when it comes to the point where they want to go out and drive, they can’t because they’re most likely making minimum wage and gas costs an arm and a leg.
At the time of this article, gas in the lower mainland costs $1.389 per litre.

This is a lot better than our record-breaking prices in May, which was $1.789 per litre, but to other cities in Canada, that is still very expensive. Calgary’s gas is $0.979 per litre, and Toronto gas is priced at $1.088 per litre. So why is B.C., especially Vancouver’s gas so expensive compared to other cities across the country?

The main reason is a lack of supply throughout the west coast. So, in order to obtain the gas, B.C. imports it from the province of Alberta, and US states like Washington and California. Along with the low supply, the Trans Mountain Pipeline is an issue as well. It is now at full capacity and is a struggle to transfer over to  B.C. since it only has two refineries, which does not seem to be enough infrastructure for the province.

Average gas prices for April 2019;Image:Global News

If the pipeline were to extend to B.C., it could increase our total of 67,000 barrels of gas by another 50,000 barrels. This is still a low amount compared to Ontario, which has 400,000 barrels.

Although the carbon tax has increased the price of gas per litre, there are other factors that contribute to the raise in gas prices, like shipping and supply that tend to leave holes in peoples wallets

Image: Skitterphoto/ Pixabay

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