The Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation (CTF) has released their 2016 Gas Tax Honesty Report, revealing that Vancouver residents currently pay the second highest gas taxes in the country, and the highest overall gas prices.
On average, Canadians pay some 37 cents tax for every litre of gas at the pump, and $654 in gas taxes each year. Montreal tops the charts with 50 cents per litre added on for tax, with Vancouver close behind at 47 cents – making up 41 per cent of the cost of filling up the tank. If taxes were completely removed, the cost per litre in Vancouver would be around 67 cents.
The rest of B.C. doesn’t pay nearly as much tax as those in the Lower Mainland because of the 17-cent transit tax imposed in Metro Vancouver.
While Alberta has been paying the lowest gas prices in the country for some time, that may soon change, as a 4.5 cent per litre carbon tax is introduced in January 2017 and by 2018 will rise to 6.73 cents.
To help lower the financial burden on Canadians, the CTF is recommending the federal government cut gas taxes by five cents a litre and cut diesel taxes by two cents a litre, as well as stop charging GST on top of applied federal and provincial gas taxes, a process known as tax-on-tax.
The CTF’s release came while many Metro Vancouver politicians are debating the contentious issue of bridge and road tolling. Jordan Bateman, B.C.’s director for the CTF, argues there needs to be legislative changes made before any more tolling goes into effect.
With all the infrastructure projects the region has in the works, including $200 million for TransLink, a new Patullo Bridge, a new Massey Tunnel, and paying off the Portman and Golden Ears Bridge, Bateman estimates tolls would need to be as high as $2 per bridge crossing.
But the CTF believes that future tolls should be put to a vote among residents of Metro Vancouver and if some bridges were to be tolled, all bridges should be tolled – including those within the City of Vancouver, like the Granville, Burrard, and Cambie Street bridges.