Give us all the information

 In Opinion

The decals the province has required gas stations to display are no doubt a pain in the butt, add red tape and threaten hefty fines – all that is definitely true, especially for small businesses. However, if the goal of a carbon tax is to deter people from using fossil fuels, knowing exactly how gas prices are calculated may be a good thing. In that case, the decals don’t go far enough.
The provincial government’s gas pump stickers say the new federal carbon tax costs 4.4 cents per litre, which will rise to 11 cents per litre by 2022. They have been criticized for failing to mention the rebate for the average is about $300, rising to $718 by 2022. Those tax breaks are being subsidized by industrial polluters.
It is all part of a standard set emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, as set out under the Paris Agreement.
Gas prices have always been a mystery. As a typical consumer, we don’t understand why gas prices fluctuate but we do know when one place jacks the price, everyone does. Aside from the weather, where to get “cheap gas” is a favourite topic of conversation for most working stiffs.
The actual cost of fuel, refining and delivery, is only a portion of what we already pay.
Taxes are one of the largest components of fuel prices in Canada, according to Petro Canada. In 2017, Canadians paid an average of 27.6 cents of tax on every litre of gas.
So, if someone were to drive an economical car an average of 20,000 km per year, spending about $1,680 in fuel for one year, that means an extra $61 in carbon tax.
Gas tax is used to fund all kinds of government projects, including local level transit, and many things we don’t know about.
The point of the tax is to place the burden on the polluter and or user of services like roads. It would be useful to know an exact breakdown of how gas prices are calculated, although they will need a much bigger gas pump sticker. In fact, wouldn’t it be great to know exactly how costs are calculated for all government services. Imagine going to the doctor and getting an itemized bill for the treatment received but have it stamped “paid in full through your taxes” at the bottom? There would probably be some outrage at how the services are billed but we’d feel really fortunate that the load was being carried by many across the province, instead of landing on individuals.
So, bring it on. Educate us as to what fuel is costing us and the planet. It would incentivize us to get off fossil fuels faster. We could have been there 30 years ago if it weren’t for politicians and lobbyists keeping our addiction fed. Let them lay out the facts and make polluters pay for innovation so we can begin to reverse the damage.

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