The province’s decision to halt the collection of the provincial fuel tax on gasoline and diesel until at least June 30 will help motorists, transport truckers, municipalities and others, says Premier Jason Kenney.
The official Opposition says the move doesn’t go far enough to help families and businesses facing skyrocketing costs.
The province stopped collecting the tax on April 1.
“Alberta’s government has listened to Albertans saying we need to take real action to reduce the cost of live, so as of midnight last night we did exactly that with a suspension of the 13-cent-a-litre Alberta fuel tax,” said Kenney.
“Alberta’s government is taking real action to save people money, to put more jingle in their jeans, to let them keep more of their hard-earned cash.”
Stopping the collection of the fuel tax will lead to a $100 million to $115 million reduction in tax revenue in the next three months.
Rajan Sawhney, minister of Alberta Transportation, also attended Friday’s press conference in Calgary.
“The sky rocketing cost of gas hurts all of us, including those businesses that transport our goods, services and keep our province moving ” said Sawhney. “The cost of fuel is a major expense for these companies as they move goods across great distances to keep our shelves stocked with the products that we need and that we depend on.”
About $670 million will be saved by commercial operators in 2022 by the suspension of the tax should the price of oil remain at the current levels, she said.
“Practically speaking, for an owner/operator of a tractor-trailer in the province, this translates to quarterly savings of approximately $700,” she said.
The province estimates that eliminating the fuel tax will save about $6.80 per tank on a compact car and $185.50 for a semi-trailer.
Travis Toews, of minister of Alberta Finance, said the tax relief measure will be reviewed quarterly.
The NDP is calling for a third-party audit to demonstrate whether savings resulting from the fuel tax suspension will actually be passed on to consumers over the life of the program.
“We’ll have to wait and see if price dips survive more than a few days,” NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley said in a press release. “I’ve been getting messages from Albertans all morning (on April 1) who aren’t seeing any price relief at their local gas station. And one thing we all know about gas prices is that they move around continuously.
“I’ve been asking the UCP how they will ensure that their pause on the gas tax will actually be passed along to Alberta families and not just swallowed up by retailers.”