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Get a grip on the steering wheel, carbon tax increases the hit at the pump

No, it’s not a long weekend gouge, but expect to pay more at the pumps starting on Canada Day.

Effective July 1 the carbon tax on gasoline rises by 1.11 cents per litre to 5.56 cents per litre. Other fuels see a similar increase.

However, the Low Income Climate Action Tax Credit also increases by 10 per cent on July 1, bringing the payment to $115.50 per adult and $34.50 per child annually.

Paid quarterly, the credit is designed to compensate low- and modest-income British Columbians for the tax they pay.

According to the Province, every dollar generated by the revenue-neutral carbon tax is returned to British Columbians through tax cuts.

For the 2011/12 fiscal year, the tax cuts are expected to return $191 million more to taxpayers than the amount of carbon tax paid.

In addition to the Low Income Climate Action Tax Credit, other measures to mitigate the carbon tax for families include the new up-to-$200 Northern and Rural Homeowner benefit and the ongoing benefit of the five-per-cent reduction in the first two personal income bracket rates introduced in 2008.

The carbon tax puts a price on emissions to encourage citizens to reduce their use of fossil fuels and promote more environmentally responsible choices.

Government passed legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent from 2007 levels by 2020 and 50 per cent by 2050.

While the carbon tax makes polluting more expensive, it makes green technologies more affordable and creates new green jobs.

As those technologies become cheaper, options such as more fuel-efficient vehicles and more efficient home heating will benefit all British Columbians regardless of where they live.

Quick facts

  • On July 1, 2011, the carbon tax will rise to a rate equivalent to $25/tonne of CO2 equivalent emissions. This translates to an increase of 1.1 cents per litre for gasoline,   1.28 cents per litre for diesel and an increase of 0.95 cents per cubic metre for natural gas.
  • In the first three years of the carbon tax, tax cuts returned an estimated $316 million more to taxpayers than the amount of carbon tax paid. Over the next three years, the tax cuts are expected to return $761 million more to taxpayers than the amount of carbon tax paid.
  • It’s estimated that by 2020 the carbon tax will save up to three million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually – equal to taking almost 800,000 cars off the road each year.

There are many free and inexpensive ways to reduce emissions, use fuel more efficiently and reduce fuel and carbon tax costs, including:

  • Walk, cycle, carpool or take transit whenever possible.
  • Slow down while driving, maintain tire pressure, stop idling, combine trips, carry only the items you need for that trip, and get regular tune ups.
  • Wash clothes in cold water, set your water heater to 49 degrees Celsius, take shorter showers, use low-flow shower heads and faucets.
  • Unplug electronics when not in use, close drapes and blinds at night, improve insulation and weather stripping, regularly change furnace filters, and turn down the thermostat by three to five degrees at night and while on vacation. 

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