Fuel tax relief at the pumps will soon shrink for Albertans.
Since April 1, drivers have been saving 13 cents per litre after the province stopped collecting the provincial fuel tax. But starting Oct. 1, savings will drop to 8.5 per cent per litre of gas and fuel for three months.
“The government committed to reviewing the program quarterly and re-evaluating fuel tax savings in stages only if the average price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil fell below US$90 per barrel,” said Finance Minister Jason Nixon in a statement on Thursday.
“As the global economy slowed, WTI prices over the four-week period ending Sept. 15 averaged $89.26 per barrel. Over this same period, Albertans have been paying the lowest gas prices in the country as prices continue to fall.”
He said Albertans will save over $200 million during the next three months with fuel tax savings at 8.5 cents per litre, and Alberta will continue to have the lowest provincial fuel tax in the country at 4.5 cents per litre.
Fuel tax savings are calculated quarterly and the UCP will provide another program update in December.
NDP energy critic Kathleen the UCP should extend the full rebate until the end of January.
“At every turn, this government makes decisions without families in mind, including today as we move to increased prices at the pumps. This is incompetent and cruel. Winter is coming and Albertans need real relief immediately,” Ganley said at a press conference.
“Electricity prices are expected to reach record highs next month which will make it even more difficult for Albertans to keep the lights on.”
She said food bank usage is up and some grocery items have increased 30 per cent or more year over year. Fuel prices were finally coming down, and the UCP will be clawing back that relief.
“We’re in a position where the government has billions of dollars in excess resource revenue coming in meanwhile the people of the province are really, really struggling,” Ganley said.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is also calling on the UCP to scrap its plans to hike gas taxes.
“Back in the spring, this government did the right thing when it scrapped its 13 cent-per-litre tax on gasoline and diesel and now it’s doing the wrong thing by jacking it back up to 4.5 cents,” said Kris Sims, Alberta director for the federation.
“The government’s own calculations show this tax hike at the pumps will cost you more than $6 to fill up a pickup truck, that’s the cost of a jug of milk.”
The UCP also plan to put the gas tax all the way back up to the full 13 cents per litre when the price of oil drops to $79.99 USD per barrel.
She said UCP leadership candidates should all commit to scrapping the tone-deaf tax hike.
“Has the cost of living suddenly become more affordable? Has the price at the pumps plummeted? Nope! People are struggling to afford the basics with inflation at historic highs, interest rates jumping and gas taxes kicking us while we are down,” Sims said.