As we see the light at the end of the COVID Tunnel of Hell, many families hope to hit the roads to explore beautiful British Columbia this summer.
Safe road trips will be essential after the strain many have been under during the pandemic.
But, because B.C. drivers are being burned by the highest gas taxes in Canada, they won’t be able to go as far or spend as much at our local sites.
The 23rd annual Gas Tax Honesty Day report compiled by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation shows that drivers in Vancouver are paying 54 cents per litre of gasoline in taxes.
On top of that, a second carbon tax adds an average of 14 cents more per litre of gasoline and an extra 15 cents per litre of diesel. The second carbon tax is a hidden fee tucked into provincial fuel regulations that makes gasoline and diesel much more expensive.
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Combined, all of these gasoline taxes cost drivers in the lower mainland about 68 cents per litre.
That means it costs about $50 extra in taxes to fill up a minivan in Metro Vancouver, not including the cost of the fuel.
That’s the highest gasoline tax rate in North America.
Drivers in neighbouring Washington State, by comparison, pay about 22 cents per litre.
That means that while our American neighbours pay about $16 in taxes to gas up the minivan to see Mount Rainier, families in B.C. will be paying about $50 extra in taxes to take the family up past Quesnel to visit Barkerville.
That $50 could cover the family’s admission fees for the historic site.
When it comes to getting burned by unfair fuel taxes, it’s the carbon taxes that hurt the most.
The first carbon tax is raking nearly $2 billion per year into government coffers.
The two carbon taxes combined cost an average of 24 cents per litre for gasoline and about 27 cents per litre of diesel.
That means it costs about $18 extra in carbon taxes to fill up a minivan and about $35 to fill up a diesel pick-up truck that lots of folks use to pull their summertime campers around.
To make matters worse: the carbon taxes are not reducing emissions.
According to federal government data posted onto the U.N. website, emissions have gone up 11 per cent in B.C. over the last four years.
When they first hatched the carbon tax back in 2008, politicians told us it would stop at $30 per tonne, be revenue neutral and reduce emissions.
Today, none of that is true. The carbon tax is now $45 per tonne, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promising to crank it up to $170. It’s no longer called revenue neutral because the government keeps most of the revenues, and emissions are going up.
This rip-off has real consequences.
Money spent on unfair gas taxes means there’s less money for our road-tripping families to get into Fort Steele near Cranbrook or to buy peaches in Keremeos.
B.C. was founded by brave people from all walks of life who travelled the province and used its natural resources to trade and prosper. Swindlers and con-men were quickly tossed out of towns like Barkerville.
Now politicians have cornered the market on cheating people out of their money using taxes both hidden and glaring. It means more people will have trouble affording to explore their own province.
Hiring a mule team might be cheaper. Or camels. Yes, those were once used on B.C. highways.
Premier John Horgan should keep his promise to make life more affordable for everyday people, and cutting these gas taxes would be a step on the journey towards keeping his word.
Kris Sims is the B.C. Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Kris is one of our Thought Leaders. For interview requests, click here.
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