BC Liberals call on province to suspend gas tax and increase climate action tax credit

BC Liberals call on the NDP government to temporarily suspend provincial gasoline taxes and import taxes on Alberta gasoline, while creating a one-time tax credit increase for climate action.

The official opposition’s call comes in response to soaring gas prices in the province.

In Metro Vancouver, some drivers are now paying $2.229 a liter — a regional record and among the highest prices in North America.

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No further relief coming for BC drivers immediately as gas prices continue to soar

“Since 2018, John Horgan has promised to relieve people of rising gas prices,” Liberal Finance Critic Peter Milobar said Tuesday during Question Period.

“Here we are, four years later, and complete NDP inaction has left British Columbians paying the highest gas prices in North America.”

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Alberta suspended its own fuel tax of $0.13 per liter on April 1. According to its provincial government, the changes saved about $6.80 per tank for a 50-liter compact car, $7.21 for a small SUV, $12.65 for a midsize vehicle. SUV, $18.50 for a large pickup and $185.50 per tank for a tractor-trailer.


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Gasoline prices in British Columbia hit record high


Gasoline prices in British Columbia hit record high

Responding to questions about gas prices in the Legislature on Tuesday, Deputy Premier Mike Farnworth said there was no guarantee companies would pass the savings on to drivers.

“I will remind the honorable member of this fact – economists who understand the gas market have made it clear that cutting petrol taxes to cut petrol taxes does not guarantee that the money will get back into the pockets of the people,” he said.

“Most often it is picked up by the gas companies who drive up the prices.”

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No further relief coming for BC drivers immediately as gas prices continue to soar

However, a recent analysis by University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe showed that tax relief in Alberta caused between 87% and 93% of the decrease at the pump.

According to the BC Liberals, a one-time increase in the Climate Action Tax Credit would directly help low- and middle-income British Columbians more than those in higher tax brackets.

The credit helps offset the impact of carbon taxes paid by individuals or families, and the next payment date is July 5, 2022.

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BC Liberals say some of the province’s record carbon tax revenue – more than $1 billion more a year since 2017 – could be returned directly to residents through a tax credit.

Liberal MPs are also suggesting allowing small petrol retailers to be exempted from certain requirements under the Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Requirements Regulations. In 2020, the NDP made changes to the small supplier provision, reducing the exemption from 75 to 25 million litres.

The exemption previously allowed small gasoline retailers to import refined fuels from Alberta at a lower cost, which benefited smaller, more rural communities, particularly along the Alberta border.

With files from Caley Gibson

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