Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday May 5, 2018
Ontario gas prices approach record high as election looms
The high price of gasoline is a concern right now for many of Ontario’s drivers and voters, giving it the potential to become an issue in the provincial election campaign.
The average price of regular unleaded gas across the province is sitting just shy of $1.37/litre according to data compiled by the Ministry of Energy. That’s just six cents lower than the highest-ever average price that hit the province in late June 2014, shortly after Ontario went to the polls the last time.
PC leader Doug Ford is trying to convince voters that gas prices will soar even further if the Liberals are re-elected.
“We all know that paying $1.50 for gas is what would happen under the Kathleen Wynne government,” Ford told a news conference at a gas station last week. “Kathleen Wynne will have her hand in your pocket every time you fill at the pump. I can tell you, that’s not going to happen on our watch.”
Ford says his government would bring down gas prices by ending the Liberals’ cap-and-trade program. That would knock 4.3 cents a litre off the price.
However, Ford is not promising to scrap or reduce the provincial gasoline tax, which adds 14.7 cents to each litre. The gas tax brings $2.7 billion into provincial coffers each year, with a portion allocated to municipalities for local transit. Only three provinces have a lower gas tax than Ontario.
“We were very clear when we took action on climate change that there was a small increase in the price of gas,” Premier Kathleen Wynne said this week in response to a question from CBC News.
She argues that this latest spike is a result of market forces.
“There’s a very significant vacillation of gas prices,” Wynne said. “It’s very challenging, it’s a private market.” (Source: CBC)