The carbon tax – whether it should stay or be abandoned in times of gas prices hike, is still a major topic among politicians. Rising gas and oil prices are forcing governments to think about implementing measures. The British Columbia government in Canada is refusing to freeze carbon tax increases or cap gas prices but it still vows to do something against the record-breaking prices.
Some of the measures on the table in Ontario are a long-promised gas tax cut as the province’s New Democrats aim to introduce a bill that would regulate gas prices weekly. The New Brunswick government already has legislation in place establishing a maximum price, retailers can charge for gas.
The maximum prices are set every week – the new price usually takes effect on Thursday mornings at 12:01 am.
The spike in natural gas and oil prices is caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and boosted by high inflation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Russia is the world’s third-largest oil and the second-largest natural gas producer. The country is now faced with economic sanctions from the UK and EU, Canada, the US and others that are expected to get worse.
The rising fossil fuels prices are fueling disputes about whether politicians should scrub carbon taxes to save consumers from such spikes. However, some policymakers like B.C. Energy Minister Bruce Ralston claims the province is not considering freezing a provincial carbon price increase set for April 1, as that wouldn’t lead to any savings at the pumps.
According to Mr Ralston, gas retailers will be rushing in to scoop any savings for themselves and they wouldn’t pass it on to the consumers. “The prices at the pumps are higher in Squamish, where they don’t pay the tax — are higher than they are in West Vancouver…” added Mr Ralston.
The Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, on the other hand, insisted that with gas topping $1.60 per liter and rising, the Trudeau government should hold off on the increase of the carbon tax. “There should be no new burdens, no new taxes as we try to get through this difficult period,” said Brown.
Cutting the carbon tax, vital for driving the transition towards the green economy, is not a sustainable solution that could solve the energy prices crisis right now. Bolder measures are needed to secure reliable energy sources like increased investments into renewable energy generation and net-zero technologies. Holding on to fossil fuels is no longer an option that would meet the growing energy needs of our generation.