New year, new carbon tax: What Albertans need to know

After seven carbon tax-free months, Albertans face the prospect of once again having to pay a premium on greenhouse gas-emitting fuels starting Jan. 1.

The federal government is imposing the tax on Alberta after the UCP repealed the previous NDP government’s carbon tax as their first act in office. The tax is meant to combat climate change by discouraging the use of carbon products.

Alberta will join Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick among provinces paying a federal carbon tax due to their refusal to implement their own carbon pollution pricing programs. The province is currently awaiting a decision from the Alberta Court of Appeal on their challenge of the federal tax.

But in preparation for the event that the tax goes through, energy companies including ATCO are sending customers information about the tax in an attempt to dodge sticker shock after new pricing kicks in.

“The carbon tax will start at a relatively low price before escalating up over the next couple of years,” said ATCO Energy president Marshall Wilmot.

The federal tax will only apply to consumers. The province’s industrial carbon tax, which sets a $30-per-tonne price, was given the green light from the federal government earlier this month.

Nuts and bolts: How the tax will affect your bottom line

When the federal carbon tax comes into effect, it will cost $20 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent.

In more concrete terms, that means drivers will pay 4.4 more cents per litre in the new year. That means the driver of a Toyota Corolla will pay $2.21 more to fill their tank, while a trip to the pump will cost the owner of a 2019 Ford F-150 an extra $6.02.

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