Ontario Premier Doug Ford has taken to social media over the past week claiming the recent drop in gas prices to below a dollar per litre is a promise fulfilled by his government.
When the previous Ontario government signed on to a cap-and-trade carbon emissions exchange with California and Quebec in January 2017, the province added 4.3 cents per litre to the price of gas. During the June 2018 provincial election, Ford promised he would reduce prices by 10 cents per litre if elected.
A few months after its election, the Ford PC government left the cap-and-trade system. But that move only accounted for a 4.3 cent per litre price reduction. What about the other 5.7 cents per litre?
In the past year, the US dollar has surged on global exchange markets, and the Canadian dollar has dropped in value by comparison. In fact, the Loonie dropped over 6.5 per cent in the calendar year, and is trading at about 73.5 cents US. Meanwhile the price of crude oil has dropped by over 12 per cent in the past year to about $48 per barrel, it is even lower for oil from the Alberta Oil Sands. That can be bought for just $35 per barrel. The low oil prices are due to oversupply from OPEC exporting nations, higher than forecast oil reserves in the US, and transportation issues getting oil to market in Canada.
According to Gasbuddy.com, the lowest average gas price in Ontario is 85.9 cents per litre.
Ford seems to be taking full credit for a price drop for which his government is less than half responsible. For Ford’s claims to be accurate, the provincial government would have to cut an additional 5.7 cents per litre from the price at the pump. The province’s fuel tax is 14.7 cents per litre, and the government also collects eight per cent of the 13 per cent HST on fuel sales. A cut to either of those taxes would do the trick and be welcomed by many.
By taking credit for market forces to lower prices, instead of actual government action, Ford continues his precedent of under-delivering on fluff promises, like the buck-a-beer that few, if any, companies can afford to sell their product for.
Instead of taking credit for that which he is not responsible, Ford should work harder to properly fulfill his election promises to Ontarians. Ford was voted in to effect change, not to under deliver.