FREDERICTON (GNB) – Gas prices will increase by more than four cents per litre across the province today due to the federal carbon tax. The provincial government is continuing its opposition to the tax, labelling it unfair and ineffective.

“This carbon tax is like a very bad April Fool’s joke,” said Environment and Local Government Minister Jeff Carr. “But unfortunately, the fact is that New Brunswickers are being hit with the highest carbon gas tax in Atlantic Canada.”

New Brunswickers are now paying 4.42 cents per litre in carbon tax on gas compared to one cent in Prince Edward Island and 0.42 cents in Newfoundland and Labrador. In Nova Scotia, it is estimated that gasoline will increase by about one cent per litre due to the carbon tax.

In New Brunswick, residents will pay the carbon tax on all home heating fuels, including oil, propane and natural gas. However, the federal government has exempted home heating fuels in both Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island and has approved a Nova Scotia system that will result in minimal impact on these fuels. By 2022, New Brunswickers will be paying the highest carbon gas tax in the country.

The tax, which is part of the federal government’s plan to meet its climate change goals, is intended to encourage people to drive less and use public transportation.

“What this plan fails to recognize is that while most Canadians live in an urban area, in New Brunswick about half of the population lives in a rural area,” said Carr. “Driving less and using public transportation are not options for these residents. This tax will not change behaviours and will unfairly penalize New Brunswickers, especially those in rural areas.”

A rural family of four that owns a truck and a sedan, each of which travels 20,000 km per year, will pay about $230 more in gas in 2019, according to provincial government estimates. If the family also has an oil furnace with a tank capacity of 900 litres, and fills that tank three times a year, they will spend about $150 more per year. In addition, there will be increases in the prices of food and other goods.

Since 2005, the province has reduced its emissions by 24 per cent and is on track to meet Canada’s goal to cut emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The provincial government, along with several other provincial governments, is fighting the federal government’s carbon tax in court. It has also developed a made-in-New Brunswick approach to the regulation of large industrial emitters.

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