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Gas tax relief in Alberta extended until at least the end of September

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Alberta’s UCP government is extending its 13 cents per liter gasoline tax exemption for at least three more months.

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This comes after the inflation rate in the province rose to 7.1% in May, reaching 7.7% nationwide, due to high gasoline prices.

In a press release Wednesday, Premier Jason Kenney noted that while those prices across Canada continue to climb, Albertans are still paying significantly less than neighboring provinces.

“We’re helping Albertans save money through the fuel tax relief program when they need it,” he said.

While prices at the pump are not as high as in Saskatchewan or British Columbia, where they are well over $2 a litre, Natural Resources Canada marked the retail price of regular gasoline Wednesday afternoon at 188.2 cents per liter in Edmonton and 191.9 cents in Calgary.

That’s even higher than before the first gas tax relief on April 1. On March 31, the retail price for regular gasoline was 164.2 cents per liter in Edmonton and 167.9 cents per liter in Calgary.

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The Alberta government estimated Wednesday that with the corresponding reduction in the GST, the gas tax relief represents total savings of about $6.80 per tank for a compact car, or $18.50 for a big pickup truck.

The government will review the program in September and only reinstate the fuel tax if the average price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil falls below $90 a barrel. For the four-week period ending June 15, WTI averaged $115.88 per barrel.

The UCP government also called on Ottawa to scrap the consumer carbon tax and federal fuel tax while WTI stays above $90 a barrel to help with high costs.

Electricity rebates expected to appear in July

Meanwhile, the province also announced via another news release Wednesday that 1.9 million eligible consumers can expect to see utility rebates automatically applied to their bills starting in July. A total of $150 will automatically be applied to electricity bills, at $50 per month, which will cost the government approximately $300 million.

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The exact timing of the discount will depend on your utility provider’s billing cycle, the government said. Eligible consumers include all residential, agricultural and small business customers who use less than 250 megawatt hours per year.

Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Power Dale Nally said in the release of his targeted support to help Albertans deal with the rising cost of living.

“These rebates, combined with the fuel tax exemption and the upcoming natural gas rebate, will help the vast majority of Alberta households pay their bills while we make the long-term changes needed to make the more affordable energy in the years to come,” he said.

Details on the UCP natural gas rebate, first promised in the February budget and expected to take effect from October if prices are above $6.50 a gigajoule, are expected to be released. announced soon.

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Bill 18, the Utility Commodity Rebate Act, was signed into law in late April. It replaces legislation that prohibited electricity cost rebates and amended regulations to allow the natural gas rebate.

“Too little, too late”: NDP

NDP Energy Critic Kathleen Ganley told a press conference that she was pleased to see the gas tax relief extended, but noted that it is more three months since the government first announced the electricity rebates.

“That’s pretty much the definition of too little, too late,” said Ganley, whose party has pressed the government for rebates by May 31.

“For most people, it doesn’t even reduce electricity bills that have skyrocketed by several hundred dollars,” said Ganley, who called it a “cheap political ploy” for the UCP to lobby on Ottawa to scrap the federal gas tax and carbon taxes, instead of taking measures that fall within provincial jurisdiction, such as capping insurance and hydro rates.

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