Critics of high gas taxes say Lower Mainland drivers increasingly drive south to save at the pump but also buy other items in the U.S.

Gas-tax gap blamed for cross-border shopping

Drivers go south for cheap gas, stay for other U.S. deals: CTF

Metro Vancouver drivers pay 34 cents a litre more for gas than their Washington State counterparts because of higher taxes here.

And the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says the tax gap is drawing more B.C. motorists south, adding to the growing problem of cross-border shopping.

“Canadians are voting with their cars and wallets,” said CTF B.C. director Jordan Bateman. “We are stalling our own economic growth with these high gas taxes – not only do they increase the cost of every good and service moved in our province, they drive overtaxed Canadians south looking to save a few bucks.”

Bateman said Metro drivers pay 49 cents a litre in taxes here, compared to 15 cents in Washington.

“Lower Mainland gas prices would be competitive with the U.S. if our tax burden wasn’t three and a half times heavier.”

Canadians made 15.4 million trips into Whatcom County last year, the most since 1997 – a statistic Bateman pointed to as evidence of growing cross-border shopping.

He likens discount gas to a “gateway drug” that gets Canadians hooked on other cheaper deals available in the U.S.

Cheaper dairy products, groceries and consumer goods are all popular buys for drivers heading south to gas up anyway, Bateman said.

He called for the elimination of the 6.67 cent per litre carbon tax and the federal GST, which is applied not only on the gas but on top of the other taxes as well.

TransLink also gets 17 cents in tax on every litre of gas sold in Metro Vancouver.

Gas prices jumped this month to just under $1.50 per litre, close to an all-time record.