Gas prices in Metro Vancouver are likely to hit $2.50 per liter this summer, according to an analyst who predicted this year’s $2 per liter prices as far back as October and hit a high of $2,279 for a liter of regular on Saturday.
“It would take, what, 14 more cents per liter?” asked Dan McTeague, a former Liberal MP and current president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, of Metro Vancouver’s fuel prices. He noted that the summer driving season, which typically drives up fuel prices, hasn’t yet started in Canada or the US
McTeague suggested a temporary suspension of the carbon tax, or for Ottawa to offer energy rebates, noting that rising gas prices have likely provided the federal government with a tax boost from GST on fuel purchases.
McTeague said increased gas prices disproportionally affects lower income Canadians.
Werner Antweiler, an associate professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business agreed, calling fuel prices “elastic,” since most people will still fill their tank whether it costs $100 or $150.
“They complain but they’re still driving,” he said.
Plus, many others who might struggle with fuel prices still have to get to work somehow, and transit is simply not an option for many, Antweiler said.
“People aren’t skipping on driving because of fuel prices because they have to get to work,” said McTeague. “What they’re skipping on is food.”
I have suggested the provincial government should temporarily remove the motor fuel tax, which is added to every liter of fuel sold in the province.
BC Liberal leader Kevin Falcon has said the same thing, calling for “a temporary suspension of all the costs the provincial government is imposing on fuel prices for at least a three-month period to give people a critical break.”
“I don’t think (the NDP) government fully appreciates just how much an increase of $200-$300 a week in fuel costs impacts a family,” he said.
On Friday, Premier John Horgan called reducing taxes to a “short-sighted plan” that would only offer a “most amount” of relief.
He said the finance minister was asked to bring forward a “basket of initiatives” to address rising fuel costs, noting they were “not a short-term issue.”
Until then, I encouraged residents to reduce travel costs.
“We need to do that by all of us taking the steps that we can to reduce the amount we spend and also ensuring that we’re working together. If you’re going to the grocery store and you know you’ve got a neighbor that needs something, ask if you can pick it up for them and reduce the number of trips that we take,” Horgan said.
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Falcon criticized the Premier’s comments, noting that they would not help a contractor who needs to transport “13 feet of PVC piping.”’
“I recognize that we’re transitioning from fossil fuels,” he said. “In the meantime, we can’t ignore the fact that the overwhelming majority of the public still has to rely on gasoline fueled vehicles to try and get around to meet their families and their business needs.”
With a file from Joe Ruttle.
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