Jen Henderson is a journalist breaking news in the capital region. She is a staff reporter at the St. Albert Gazette and  covers provincial and federal politics, crime and court. 

Gas prices jump with new carbon levy

Gas prices jump with new carbon levy

Gas prices continued to climb as the province brought in the new year and the new carbon levy.

On Jan. 1 the carbon levy kicked in raised the price of regular gasoline by 4.5 cents per litre and 5.3 cents per litre for diesel fuel. Marked fuels, or purple gas, used by farmers are exempt from the tax. Propane will see an increase of 3.08 cents.

In the final days of 2016, the price of gas slowly crept up and on New Year’s Eve, many residents across the province were lining up at gas stations to take advantage of the last hours before the new tax took hold.

According to the price of gas climbed past $1 per litre in the final days of 2016. On New Year’s Day the numbers climbed by nearly 5 cents per litre. By Tuesday the highest gas prices sat at 111.9 cents per litre and the lowest were just under one dollar at 99.9 cents per litre.

This is the highest fuel prices have been across the province since October of 2015 when they hovered around 112 cents per litre.

St. Albert resident Sarah Tennant says she doesn’t plan on changing her routine to minimize the impact of the carbon tax.

“I already only drive when necessary,” Tennant said. “I don’t have much control over how much I spend on gas.”

Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman opened the new year with a Sunday press conference about the carbon tax, reminding Alberta residents that the approval of the two pipelines in December were tied directly to the implementation of Alberta’s carbon plan.

“Make no mistake, our climate leadership plan is the reason that Alberta is breaking the land lock,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman also discussed carbon rebates and said that to offset the costs, 60 per cent of Alberta families will receive a rebate.

On Jan. 2 Environment Minister Shannon Phillips spoke to Albertans in a press conference. She also mentioned that the approval of the pipelines was tied to the implementation of the provincial carbon tax.

“It's day two of the carbon levy, the province is still standing,” Phillips said.

Phillips said she is excited to see new jobs created as the province invests in green energy and that Albertans can expect to receive rebate cheques in the mail later this month.

Several protests have been held across the province in the last year against the carbon tax and many critics called for a referendum on the tax.

Full rebates will be given to single Albertans who earn $47,500 or less and to couples and families who earn $95,000 or less.

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