What the 6.4 cent gas tax cut has meant for Ontario families

Jay GoldbergFrom Windsor to Kenora, Ontario taxpayers overwhelmingly want to see the Ford government’s gas tax cut extended into the new year. But Ontarians face the possibility of a tax jump at the pumps if Premier Doug Ford doesn’t act.

A new poll conducted by Leger Marketing shows that three out of every four Ontarians want to see the Ford government extend its 6.4 cent per litre temporary gas tax cut, which is presently set to expire on Jan. 1, 2024.

It’s hard to find such overwhelming majority support in Ontario for a favourite hockey team, let alone a gas tax cut supported by just one political party.

The public consensus is clear: the Ford government must extend its temporary gas tax cut. Ontarians continue to deal with the same cost of living issues that were top of mind when the Ford government introduced this measure in July of 2022.

gas-tax ontario

Photo by Engin Akyurt

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More than 50 percent of Canadians say they are living paycheque to paycheque. Allowing gas taxes to shoot up could put more Ontario families on the brink.

Some may scoff about how much of a difference a 6.4 cent per litre gas tax cut truly makes in the lives of everyday taxpayers. Let’s lay the facts on the table.

A suburban mom driving a minivan and filling its 75-litre gas tank once a week has saved $4.80 per fill-up. Over the course of a year, that translates to $250 in savings.

And if that family has a second car, savings go even further. If a dad drives a 56-litre sedan and also fills up once a week, he’s been saving $3.58 per fill-up. In a year, that works out to $186 in savings.

Add the savings from those two cars together and you get $436 a year. That’s nothing to scoff at. It could pay for two weeks’ worth of groceries for a family of four.

Ford should also extend his gas tax cut to honour a commitment he made to Ontario voters. During the 2018 provincial election that saw Ford sweep to power, he promised to deliver Ontarians meaningful and permanent tax relief. One of the key components of Ford’s proposal was to permanently reduce gas taxes by 6.4 cents per litre at the pumps.

Ford stalled for nearly four years before finally delivering gas tax relief to Ontario taxpayers in July of 2022 with a temporary tax cut. But Ford promised in 2018 that lower gas taxes at the pump would be permanent.

Poll after poll shows affordability is top of mind for voters from coast to coast. Ford’s gas tax cut has been crucial in making life more affordable for Ontario families. Taxpayers cannot afford a $436 tax hike on Jan. 1, 2024. But that’s precisely what will happen if the Ford government doesn’t act.

Governments usually introduce fall fiscal updates in October or November. When a government presents a fiscal update, that’s where policy announcements or changes are most likely to be found, other than during budget season.

Ford should use his government’s fall update to announce an extension of the gas tax cut. Ontario taxpayers deserve certainty and want to ensure that savings at the pumps are locked in for 2024. Ford should give taxpayers that clarity as soon as possible.

The bottom line is that the Ford gas tax cut is promoting greater affordability and has overwhelming support from Ontario taxpayers. The government should seize the moment and make a policy move that taxpayers from every corner of the province strongly support. The time to act is now.

Jay Goldberg is the Ontario & Interim Atlantic Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

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