As energy analysts predict another jump in gas prices this week, the Alberta NDP are calling on the UCP to extend the provincial fuel tax holiday.
Just last Wednesday, the price at most Red Deer pumps soared 16 cents per litre to 179.9 to set a new record.
NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley said the fuel tax pause is set to end on July 1 and so far the UCP have only indicated that an extension was a possibility.
“I’ve asked the premier to extend the Alberta provincial fuel tax holiday until at least Oct. 1 and to reassess at that time,” said NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley.
“Many Albertans are struggling just to fill up to get to work.”
The NDP are again asking the government to audit the tax rebate program to make sure the savings are being passed along to Albertans.
“This program is being paid for by taxpayer money, money that is coming in part for the UCP raising income taxes on families across this province, so they deserve to know that the money is going to them and not being pocketed.”
She said without an audit, Albertans don’t know what is happening to that money.
In a letter to Ganley, Acting Finance Minister Jason Nixon said the fuel tax relief program will likely continue past July 1.
“It is clear from the current high prices that this program will likely continue for another quarter, from July 1 to the end of September. We will make an official announcement later this month,” Nixon said.
Ganley also called on the UCP to deliver their long-overdue utility rebates, reverse their income tax grab, stop clawing back benefits from families and seniors, and restore the caps on insurance premiums and student tuition.
“Inflation is at a 30-year high. More Albertans are struggling to pay down their debts, and surveys show Alberta families feel financially stressed more now than at any point during the pandemic.”
She said the UCP needs to act, but instead, they are busy infighting.
Nixon said the electricity rebate program will help cover high electricity costs many Albertans saw this winter with $150 in rebates, starting in July.
More details on the natural gas rebate program will be released as soon as they are finalized.
National average gas prices rose to about $2.06 on Sunday, up almost three cents from the day before and 11 cents higher compared with a week ago, according to the Canadian Automobile Association.
Fuel prices are expected to creep up another three cents in the coming days, says Canadians for Affordable Energy.
— with files from The Canadian Press