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LETTER: Need to address gas prices

I share your frustration over the price of gas.

In fact, two years ago I questioned why gas was $1.38 when WTI crude was $103.61 but still at $1.22 when WTI had dropped to $52.48. A 49 per cent drop in WTI vs. a 12 per cent drop in gas.

I used to point to the Liberals and say that fixing the weekly pricing formula could ‘fix’ the oil-to-gas price relationship. Knowing what I know now, the issue isn’t just the formula. The fact is: we are a tiny market following a huge market.

This past weekend I saw gas in Quebec at $1.25 (regulated) and between $1.23 and $1.29 (unregulated) in Ontario. Both (at the time of writing this) higher than ours, which says that if we are being gouged, they are too!

Nova Scotia can’t influence the world price of gas but we are not helpless either.

For starters, the Liberals control the amount of tax included in the pump price. At today’s prices, that’s a whopping $0.40 a litre. Some of this is tax on tax, which is silly. There is so much tax built in that the government is "earning" almost 10x the store selling the gas makes! By the way, the planned McNeil carbon tax will add even more.

Next, in the longer term, the premier could really get behind promoting energy security here at home. The Energy East Pipeline is one example of a project that would allow us to refine Canadian oil, rather than relying on imports from overseas. This is a project the Trudeau government has stalled.

It’s fair to be mad about the price of gas but while there are no easy answers, there are steps the McNeil Liberals can take. I hope they do.

Tim Houston

MLA for Pictou East

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