Metro Vancouver drivers are now paying more than $1 billion a year in combined gas and carbon taxes, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
The lobby group said the latest two-cent-per-litre increase in TransLink’s fuel tax on April 1 and the next 1.1-cent bump in B.C.’s carbon tax on July 1 puts the region over that threshold.
Drivers in Metro Vancouver now pay nearly 50 cents per litre in combined fuel taxes.
“This is highway robbery,” said Jordan Bateman, the CTF’s B.C. director. “Drivers are tired of seeing their hard-earned money evaporate into government’s coffers.”
The federal and provincial governments and TransLink took in a total of $958 million from Metro drivers last year through taxes at the pumps, and the CTF calculated that will rise to $1.02 billion this year.
TransLink’s portion will account for more than $350 million – the biggest chunk – while the federal government’s 10-cent tax pulls in $208 million from Metro, provincial gas tax of 8.5 per is worth $177 million, the carbon tax of 6.67 cents as of July will be nearly $140 million and the five-per-cent federal HST generates another $145.6 million.
For a 64-litre tank fill-up, taxes account for more than $31 and could add up to nearly $1,600 per year for a two-car family.
Much of Ottawa’s take is handed back to TransLink via cities for transportation investment, but Bateman said governments should allocate all gas taxes to roads and bridges or cut them immediately.
“We’re told tolls are necessary for projects like the Highway 1/Port Mann Bridge expansion,” he said. “Clearly there is enough money being taken from drivers to fund these priorities, but government is spending the cash elsewhere.”
Province-wide, motorists will pay $1.82 billion to various levels of government through gas taxes.
Bateman noted drivers are further taxed through tolls, ICBC’s auto insurance monopoly, municipal property taxes for roads, development cost charges, vehicle registration fees, vehicle purchase taxes, parking taxes and drivers’ licence fees.
“It’s no wonder B.C. drivers are feeling so stretched—government views them as its personal drive-thru ATM machine.”
Vancouver area gas prices averaged around $1.44 per litre in recent days, about six cents short of the all-time record high.