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When a 1-cent gas tax change was considered 'drastic' in Quebec

In the summer of 1982, Quebec drivers had to spend an extra penny per litre at the pumps, and in doing so, continue to pay the highest gas prices in Canada.

Quebec drivers were paying highest gas prices in Canada in the summer of 1982

A 1.2-cent gas tax hike in Quebec in 1982

Digital Archives

39 years ago
1:28
On July 16, 1982, Don Macpherson reports on an increase to the gas tax in Quebec. 1:28

Quebec drivers were going to have to spend an extra penny per litre at the pumps, and in doing so, continue to pay the highest gas prices in Canada.

And at that point, in the summer of 1982, those drivers had already been facing a bumpy ride.

"The Quebec government says it's not an increase in the tax, it's an adjustment," reporter Don Macpherson told viewers on The National on July 16, 1982, the day the 1.2-cent change to the provincial gas tax was made.

"But increase or adjustment, it's the third time in only eight months that the price of gasoline in Quebec has gone up."

Higher prices, higher costs

The National used this diagram to show the different prices drivers were paying for regular unleaded gasoline as of mid-July in 1982. (The National/CBC Archives)

Macpherson said a litre of regular unleaded gas that cost 50.3 cents in Montreal, would cost just 34.7 cents in Calgary, or 36.9 cents in Toronto. In St. John's, drivers were paying around 45.5 cents a litre.

Anyone who did a lot of driving noticed how much it was costing. Like the taxi drivers who spent all day behind the wheel.

"I've had a lot of cab drivers complain about it to me and their bosses," one driver told CBC News.

It all adds up

Taxi drivers weren't happy with a decision to raise Quebec's gas tax at a time when the province's motorists were already paying more for fuel than people in other parts of Canada were. (The National/CBC Archives)

A man wearing a tie spoke to CBC from the driver's seat of his car and he pointed to the implications fuel costs had for people who did a lot of driving.

"I do about 25,000 kilometres a year and obviously, as far as my budget and my company's budget is concerned, you know, it's really a drastic change," he said.

Macpherson said the price of diesel was also also going up in Quebec, which meant everything that moved across the province by truck would cost more to deliver — and thus cost more for consumers.

Worse still, Macpherson said Quebecers could expect to see their fuel prices increase further as an increase in gas prices on a national level took effect later in the year.

The Quebec government raised the tax on gasoline by 1.2 cents in July of 1982. (The National/CBC Archives)

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