BC government should temporarily pause provincial gas taxes: business group

Mar 14 2022, 11:53 pm

Should the provincial government put in place a temporary pause on the collection of the provincial fuel tax to reduce living costs for BC residents and businesses?

Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT) is calling on the provincial government to immediately put in place cost relief measures for fuelling up vehicles, similar to the temporary policies that will be enacted soon in Alberta.

“In these unprecedented times, the BC Government needs to commit to a comprehensive review of all taxes to support businesses,” said Anita Huberman, president and CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, in a statement.

“As the effects of the pandemic continue, the cost of living and the price of goods continue to escalate. Recent and significant gas price increases are yet another burden on the business community. Government should be doing what they can to support businesses and that is through reduced taxation.”

SBOT says the temporary pause in provincial fuel taxes should last until “global circumstance improve,” while also adding that “undoubtedly investments in green technologies are essential, but reliance on oil and gas in the medium- and short-term is a reality, and that must be addressed.”

Last week, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced a sliding-scale relief policy based on the price of oil. The provincial fuel tax in Alberta will be removed completely when the price of oil is over $90 per barrel, but when the price of oil is under $80 per barrel, the fuel tax of 13 cents per litre will be in effect. Alberta’s policy for both gas and diesel will begin on April 1 and last until at least July 1.

On March 15, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced $0.25 per litre will be removed from her country’s fuel tax, and public transit fares will be slashed by 50%. New Zealand’s relief measures will go into effect on April 1 and remain in place for three months.

Within Metro Vancouver, an additional $0.73 is added to every litre of gas through various provincial and regional taxes, including $0.10 per litre for the provincial carbon tax, which will go up to $0.11 in April. Furthermore, anyone in BC who now makes over $44,842 annually is no longer eligible for the BC carton tax rebate of $197.

The federal government is expected to add its own federal carbon tax by the end of 2021, which will increase Metro Vancouver’s gas taxes by a further $0.16 per litre.

TransLink’s portion of the overall gas tax costs in Metro Vancouver accounts for $0.185 per litre. Prior to the pandemic, the TransLink fuel tax funded 45% of its operating budget. The public transit authority has been encouraging more drivers to switch to its services to avoid the high costs at the pump.

Regular gas prices in Metro Vancouver hit a new record high well above the $2.00 per litre mark earlier this month. As of the time of writing, the prices at most of the region’s gas stations have dipped to just under the $2.00 per litre mark.

Escalating prices over the past few months have been due to a combination of factors, including rebounding demand from economic growth and tourism, and more recently from global supply constraints as a result of western efforts to wean off Russian gas due to the war in Ukraine.


Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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