Gas prices to rise in Ontario on Monday as federal carbon tax kicks in, analyst says
CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, March 29, 2019 3:22PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, March 29, 2019 7:34PM EDT
A spike in gas prices is likely on Monday when the federal carbon tax takes effect.
Dan McTeague of GasBuddy.com predicts that prices in Ontario will jump by five cents on April 1 when the policy kicks in, and he says it won’t stop there.
Prices could spike another 10 cents a litre mere days after that.
“Well before we get to the May 24 weekend, we’re looking at $1.35 as an average price in the GTA,” he told CTV News Toronto.
Provinces that do not have its own carbon pricing system – Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick – will all be subject to the tax.
According to the federal government, the tax is necessary for these four provinces because they do not meet Ottawa’s standards to slow down the effects of climate change by reducing emissions. Other provinces have implemented programs of their own.
The Liberals have said that the vast majority of the money collected through the tax will be returned to Canadians in form of an income tax rebate. In Ontario, it’s expected that the average family of four will receive just over $300 in 2019.
However, McTeague predicts that the tax will make prices jump across the board.
“We know that grocery prices are up, we know that it’s a time where tourism begins to pick up. If people feel it’s more expensive to shop around or they have less disposable income because of an artificial policy by the federal government, then it’s likely to cascade throughout the economy and lead to unintended consequences,” he said.
Premier Doug Ford has been a vocal opponent of the tax. Since taking provincial office last year, he moved to scrap Ontario’s cap-and-trade system and once claimed the federal carbon tax would trigger a recession.
At an unrelated news conference on Friday, Ford reiterated his promise to fight the tax.
“Everything is going up now with this ridiculous carbon tax. It’s just a tax with the word carbon in front of it – it does nothing for the environment. It’s just another scam to try and gouge the taxpayers,” he said.
“We are going to use every single tool in our toolbox to fight this carbon tax. It’s a deadly, deadly tax.”
Opposition parties and economists have shot down his claims in the past, saying the move is necessary to bring down elevated levels of climate-changing emissions.
For Ontario drivers, fluctuating gas prices may not be anything new.
Some say they are resigned to the increase.
“What can you do about it? We’re just the little guy. We’re going to have to pay for it no matter what price it is,” said one driver.
“You just have to accept there’s nothing you can do about it.”
With files from CTV News Toronto's Heather Wright