British Columbia

Gas tax highest in Vancouver: advocacy group

Drivers in Metro Vancouver are paying the highest gasoline taxes in Canada, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

High gas taxes

11 years ago
Duration 1:57
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Metro Vancouver drivers pay the highest gasoline taxes in Canada, the CBC's Belle Puri reports 1:57

Drivers in Metro Vancouver are paying the highest gasoline taxes in Canada, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

About 33 per cent of the price of gas in Metro Vancouver is taxes, said Gregory Thomas, the federation's B.C. director.  

"Metro Vancouver's drivers pay the highest gasoline taxes in Canada. We are number one. We are the Vancouver Canucks of gas taxpayers. We pay more than anyone else anywhere else," Thomas told a news conference at a Burnaby gas station Thursday — which the federation had dubbed Annual Gas Tax Honesty Day.

One of the reasons Metro Vancouver drivers pay so much is a special transit tax, but rates in Victoria and the B.C. Interior are not far behind, he said.

Victoria drivers pay about a 30-per-cent tax on gas while the rest of the province pays about 28 per cent, according to figures released by Thomas.

National average is 29 per cent

The calculations are based on a pump price of $1.379 for B.C., but Thomas notes, the percentage of the price that is tax fluctuates along with the price of gas, because some of the taxes are applied at flat rate per litre and others are based on the price of the gas at the pump.  

Across Canada, the average tax percentage is about 29 per cent, with the lowest rate in Alberta where drivers pay about 21 per cent, base on pump price of $1.158.

Nationally, a two-car family now pays $1,100 in gas tax alone every year and that number is just going to keep going up for B.C. residents, said Thomas.   

"The main changes are the July 1 increases to the carbon tax. We are going to get nailed with another penny a litre on July 1," he said.

Gas tax has supporters

Responding to the Taxpayers Federation complaints, Matt Horne, a spokesman for the sustainable-energy think tank Pembina Institute, said that local gas taxes pay for transit service in Metro Vancouver. 

Horne also said it's too narrow a view to criticize the provincial carbon tax for its cost.

"The carbon tax in the province has two benefits," he said. "One, it's part of the province's strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province. And it's the incentive that is provided there. And also the revenue is being used to reduce other taxes people in the province are paying."

Horne said if people are angry about paying high gasoline taxes, they can look at driving more efficient vehicles, driving less, or where it's a viable option, using transit.