Volume 93, Issue 81

Friday, March 3, 2000


Poll supports fight for student funding

Internet business boom

Opposition surrounds UWOFA part-timers

Province to make no promises on lower gas tax

Church plans to apologize for past

Scientists not just cloning around


Caught on campus

Caught on campus, again

Province to make no promises on lower gas tax

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

When it comes to the recent rise in gas prices, it seems citizens, industries and the government are all getting burned.

In London, gas prices are presently hovering at approximately 72 cents per litre. Rosalinda Fischer, manager for Public and Government Affairs for the Canadian Automobile Association, said if gas taxes were dropped, the price of gas would drop to approximately 42 cents per litre.

Last Tuesday, Finance Minister Ernie Eves indicated the government would take a look at provincial gas taxes in their upcoming budget preparation, said Liz Harrington, special assistant to Eves. She explained all government taxes would be under review, but changes should not necessarily be expected.

"Gas companies, both through their words and their actions, have made it clear that cutting provincial taxes will not bring down the gas prices," she said.

"What's going on here is a gauging of prices. Competition has driven prices to the extreme." Harrington added a reduction in taxes may lead to gas companies raising their prices even higher.

Harrington contended the provincial gas taxes are not the issue. She said the conservative government had not raised gas taxes since they took office in 1995. "It has stayed at 14.7 cents a litre," she said.

"I hope they're paying more then just lip service," Fischer said of Minister Eve's comments to review the provincial tax. "The taxes are unfair. If they don't belong there, the provincial or federal government should do something about it."

Sandra Sobko, manager of communications for the Petroleum Communication Foundation, said high gas prices were due to a combination of different forces. She listed the rising cost of refining oil and the high price of crude oil worldwide as factors accompanying the governmental taxes. "The world oil prices are extremely high," she said. "They're not producing enough oil to meet world demand."

Evidence of oil companies gauging their prices has not been proven, Fischer said. "What has been proven is the insane amount of taxes tacked onto the bills you and I pay."

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