Fuel taxes dropping Apr. 1
Article updated at 4:40 pm Mar. 7 to include commentary from the NDP opposition.
Alberta’s government says effective Apr. 1 it will stop collecting the 13 cents per litre provincial fuel tax to provide relief from current high fuel prices. That date is the same day the federal carbon tax on gasoline is set to increase by roughly 2 cents per litre to just over 11 cents per litre.
The collection of the fuel tax will be paused for gasoline and diesel at $0.13 per litre, and marked gasoline and marked diesel at $0.04 per litre. The reduction will also save consumers 5% GST that is applied on top of the tax.
“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 April 1, Alberta’s government is taking the opposite approach and stepping up to offer relief,” said Premier Jason Kenney in a news release Monday. “Stopping the provincial fuel tax puts money back in the pockets of Albertans when they need it most.”
In addition to the tax cut on fuel, the Government of Alberta says it will also provide $150 electricity rebates to help Albertans pay for the high bills they faced this winter. An estimated one million homes, farms and businesses are to receive retroactive $50 monthly rebates for three months.
“Utility prices are in part due to market conditions, and in part due to punishing policies from the former provincial government and the federal government,” said Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity Dale Nally. “As our government works hard to responsibly manage system costs, we are also working tirelessly to increase generation investments to bring new supply on to the market. As this long-term work continues, a rebate to help offset these costs for Alberta families and small businesses will help provide support when they need it most.”
This electrical rebate will combine with the Natural Gas Rebate program announced in the UCP Budget 2022, a rebate the NDP Opposition called fake when it was announced last week.
The UCP says it will review the collection of the fuel taxes on a quarterly basis and, if required, consider reinstating collection in stages, based on the average price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) over a number of weeks. However, the UCP committed to not reinstate the tax until July 1.
NDP energy Critic Kathleen Ganley said the UCP attempt to reduce rising costs falls short and that there was nothing new for natural gas beyond the previously announced “fake rebate program” that will not start until next winter.
“Albertans are struggling right now. The cost of everything is going up, and many of these rising costs are a direct result of UCP policy,” Ganley said. “The UCP’s latest plan falls well short of what’s needed and Albertans will continue to struggle with basic costs.”
The NDP say they put forward an emergency motion in the legislature calling for an immediate suspension of the 13-cent-per-litre provincial gas tax for three months and proposing to keep the measures in place longer if needed. The motion also called for an immediate electricity rebate program to offset rising costs or to reestablish the rate cap of 6.8 cents per kilowatt-hour put in place when the NDP formed the government.
That emergency motion was defeated by the UCP.
“Premier Jason Kenney needs to do his job, listen to Albertans, and follow through on the promises he’s made to them,” said Ganley. “Enough with these fake rebates that will never help Albertans.”
article compiled by Stephen Dafoe