Gas Prices and Carbon Taxes

Here’s something that’s been on my mind a little. Perhaps someone with more money-smarts will point out my naivety. Or who understands gas prices. Or heck, who drives a car on a regular basis.

In July of this year the Provincial Government introduced a carbon tax on gas. I believe it’s 2.5 cents per litre. This was met with much anger. As if gas prices weren’t going high enough, as if they didn’t get enough through taxing gas, now they needed more?

Late June, right before this kicked in, the gas prices here were ranging from roughly 148 cents per litre to 149.9. I was watching just out of interests sakes, just along my usual bus routes, so I may have missed some variation. But it seemed like the gas companies were unwilling to push over that 150 mark. On the last day of the month I figured yowsa, here we go, tomorrow it’ll be over a buck fifty for sure.

I think maybe that first day or two it was. But you know what? It went right back to where it was, even lower. Heck, I’ve seen it down to 138.9.

It seems to me that the price of gas at the pump is subject to the same influences as anything else. They’ll charge what people will pay. The gas companies could care less about what you think of what they charge so long as you keep buying. That 150 mark seems to be big to many people, and perhaps it was just too pricey. Perhaps at just under that price, the gas companies were already charging the price that gave them the best profit. Then in comes the government with a tax. This pushes the price out of that optimum range – decreases the quantity purchased enough to not balance the added price. So the gas companies had to drop their prices back down to ‘ride the curve’ of optimum profits.

Now the Federal parties are starting to bring up the idea of a green tax on gas. Or at least the liberals have. I’ve heard the same grumbles – gas is pricey enough already, getcher hands out of my pocket! But we’ve already seen here in British Columbia, the price wasn’t overly affected by the addition of a tax. If anything, the tax brought it down. Possibly this was due to a consumer backlash against the perceived increase in price, even if that wasn’t actualized.

To me, it comes down to this:

You’re going to spend money on gas. There is a certain portion of that money (say, 2.5 c/l) that is either going to go to the gas companies or to the government. Where would you like to see it go?

Frankly, I’m happier with it going to the government.


  • The glee in Cameron’s voice as he recognized Science World and figured out that yes, all that talk of going to Science World meant we were really going there!
  • Big blue eyes over the plasma ball, as Cameron gently touched the glass. From finger to finger, blue lightning inside the ball flickered, lighting his palm up with pink misty glow. It was obvious that he was really trying to puzzle out what was happening – as he planted his palm and lifted his fingers, then put fingers down and lifted his palm.
  • Yummy, easy soup. Olive oil, onions, carrots, tomatoes, green and yellow split peas, lentils, barley, quinoa, alphabet letter pasta. Better yet, all but the fresh stuff came from a dry mix. Oh, seasonings. A bit of chicken stock as I didn’t add enough veggies to give it a good veggie flavour (nor cook it long enough), pepper, ginger. Served it with whole wheat toast and butter – Cameron loved dipping the toast into the soup.
  • Snuggling with Cameron in my bed for our nap. He wanted to hear Where The Wild Things Are twice – to which I agreed provided he agreed to go to sleep after, without screaming. Sure enough, I put the book down, and he buried his face in my throat, and went to sleep. We slept three hours.
  • A glimpse of late afternoon sun, lighting up the livingroom with glowy-warm yellow. Not even so much the sun, as the contrast of warm light against the dark cloudy-rainy day out the other windows. That contrast I think is where the happy feeling came from.
  • “I made pawprints!” Cameron and I were heading into the kitchen after I’d gotten soaked pants off of him. Sure enough, there was a puddle on the floor, and foot prints of pee across the kitchen floor. They didn’t exactly make me happy, but hearing Cameron call them pawprints did.
  • Post-story cuddles in the dark. Another rainy night, so as Cameron relaxed, I talked quietly about the rain, with long pauses to listen to the soft shhhhh of rain falling on trees. Tonight was the first night in a while that he’s gone to sleep easily after going into his crib – instead of playing, chatting, whining, crying, screaming for an hour. Wonderful!
  • Talking with Betty on the phone. Hearing from Mom too – they’re away on a sailing holiday.
  • I spent nothing today. Not one cent. Bus pass to get to and from Science World (including a Sky Train trip a little out of our way because I knew Cameron would love it). Year pass to Science World. We brought snacks. We had lunch at home, and dinner at home. No lattes, no groceries, no purchases at all.

2 responses to “Gas Prices and Carbon Taxes

  1. heh. the green tax that the liberals proposed to bring really angered a lot of British Columbians, including my mother.
    However, I read Dions Green Shift and he carefully stipulated that the Green tax will NOT be applied to the pump. I can only guess that that meant the GASOLINE pump.

    However….. there is a lot of hate (think Conservatives, NDP) aimed at Dion, and unfortunately, his own party didn’t do much to help him strike back. It’s too bad, because now, it’s too late to ever have a green PM. I still find it ironic when people who voted Conservative proudly state their support for Obama.

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