Alberta’s NDP is calling for a review of the provincial gas tax relief program after retail fuel prices remained largely unchanged in the New Year.
As of January 1, 2023, the Government of Alberta is no longer collecting the provincial fuel tax, which the Opposition says should lead to a drop in the price at the pumps by at least four cents per litre.
As of Monday, Jan. 2, gas prices remained largely unchanged across Alberta, with Calgary at around $1.30 a litre. Gas prices were closer to $1.18 per litre in the city at the end of December, according to GasBuddy.com. See the latest gas prices at Alberta Gas Prices - lowest prices - AlbertaPrimeTimes.com
“At a time when so many Albertans are struggling, it’s frustrating that the public doesn’t really know whether this relief is actually being passed on or not,” said Alberta NDP Energy Critic Kathleen Ganley in a press release. “This is now the second time that the UCP have announced this policy with no guarantee it will benefit drivers.”
In a letter sent Wednesday to MLA David Hanson in his role as Chair of the Standing Committee of Resource Stewardship, Ganley requested the committee to begin a formal review of the Alberta Fuel Tax Relief Program to ensure accountability for Albertans.
Ganley said the committee could begin by inviting Alberta’s major fuel retailers — including Petro-Canada, Esso, Shell, Husky, Parkland and others — to provide an overview of each of their respective internal mechanisms for setting prices and more specifically, for ensuring the relief program is being implemented as intended.
“What we’re asking is for MLAs from all parties to have an opportunity to review this program and speak with Alberta’s fuel retailers to ensure there is oversight of whether or not these savings are being passed on, to ensure Albertans are receiving the relief that they need," she said.
Ganley points out that In April 2022, the provincial fuel tax was suspended and less than three months later, the price “advantage” had disappeared compared to other provinces. At the time, former Premier Jason Kenney asked the Competition Bureau of Canada to investigate the issue.
Fuel market experts say the UCP's 2023 tax reduction doesn't automatically mean gas prices will drop, pointing to factors like crude prices and even extreme weather as impacting the price at the pump for consumers.