In a little over a week, Albertans may see gas prices soaring once again, as April 1 will mark the beginning of the federal government's increase in its carbon tax, while the provincial fuel tax is expected to be reinstated in full

The increasing of the carbon tax and what it may mean for consumers was something that Alberta's Premier, Danielle Smith, impressed upon Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau when he made a stop in the province on Wednesday.

According to a readout of the meeting, the province stated that Premier Smith reiterated the growing opposition to the federal carbon tax, which includes seven Premiers, and federal members of Parliament.

"The Premier suggested that the Prime Minister could achieve a win if he listened to the many voices raised against the carbon tax and reversed his decision to increase the tax by 23 per cent on April 1."

Currently, the federal carbon tax for one litre of gasoline in Alberta is around 14 cents. However, beginning on April 1, that will jump to over 17 cents. By April 1, 2025, the tax is set to be hiked again to around 20 cents per litre, while by April 2030, the carbon tax will be nearly 40 cents. 

As far as the provincial fuel tax is concerned, it was partially reinstated at the beginning of 2024 at nine cents per litre for both diesel and gasoline.

Previously, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Nate Horner, said that despite the tax being reintroduced, Albertans would continue to save four cents per litre on gas and diesel in the first three months of 2024. The province added that further pausing or reinstating of the tax would depend on the price of the West Texas Intermediary (WTI) pricing. 

According to the provincial budget which was released in February, 'after March 2024, the fuel tax relief program is not anticipated to remain in effect, given that WTI prices are forecast to remain below the $80 threshold at which partial fuel tax relief begins.'

An update from the province is expected at the end of this month. If fully, reinstated, the provincial fuel tax will be 13 cents per litre for both gasoline and diesel.

In the province's readout of Premier Smith's meeting, it was underlined that the province remains focused on achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

"The province and the federal government have worked together to see several projects start and progress from companies including Air Products, Dow Chemical and Heidelberg. The Premier highlighted the importance of projects that will move the province and country forward on carbon neutrality, including the Pathways Alliance project. Premier Smith is awaiting the federal budget to see if Ottawa will give more clarity to support it."

While the gas prices in Alberta are slightly lower than the national average, which the Alberta Motor Association (AMA) estimates is approximately $1.50, according to the website Gas Wizard, the prices being paid now at the pumps in the province, are some of the highest in recent history. Currently, gas prices in Airdrie are hovering around $1.48 per litre for regular gasoline.

Although Albertans may be bracing for an impact on their wallets at the pumps, they can also expect that April will bring money back to them through various tax rebates.

"If you file your taxes electronically by March 15, 2024, you should receive your next CCR payment (formerly known as the Climate Action incentive payment) on April 15, 2024. If you file after March 15, 2024, generally, you can expect to get your CCR payment 6-8 weeks after your tax return has been assessed," the Government of Canada's website stated. 

The first adult in a household in Alberta can receive up to $225 from their quarterly rebate, while in totality a family of four in the province can receive upwards of $450 quarterly - or $1,800 a year. Albertans receive the most money back from the CCR program, as compared to other provinces. 

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