Ontario plans to cut gasoline taxes before March 2022
Change arrives shortly before 2022 election, but premier says he has no intention of reinstating rebates so “millionaires” can buy EVs
Ontario premier Doug Ford is committed to cutting the province’s gas tax by 5.7 cents before the next budget is delivered, but won’t reinstate rebates for electric vehicles. That’s even as he said on Twitter that he wants Ontario “to become the global leader in EV battery technology,” following Tesla’s plan to open a facility near Toronto.
According to The Canada Press, Ford will cut the provincial fuel tax prior to March 31, 2022, ahead of the budget. He will call on the federal government to match his pledge, and if it does, he will cut Ontario’s tax “even further.”
The report noted that the statement from the provincial Progressive Conservatives did not include mention of a promise Ford made during his 2018 election campaign to lower gasoline prices by 10 cents per litre. Ford’s government did eliminate the cap-and-trade system, which would have brought gas prices down by 4.3 cents, but that led to a federal carbon tax knockdown that wiped out the savings, and which the provincial government unsuccessfully fought in court.
In another report, Ford told the CBC that he won’t reinstate electric vehicle (EV) incentives, saying that, “I’m not going to give rebates to guys that are buying $100,000 cars” and referring to them as “millionaires.” (For the record, while there certainly are some pricey EVs on the market, the least-expensive 2022 all-electric model starts below an MSRP of $38,000.) The report noted that the Ontario PC government is “counting on rising sales of those EVs to help bring down greenhouse gas emissions.”
Under previous premier Kathleen Wynne, the provincial Liberal government offered Ontario drivers the highest rebates in the country, to a maximum of $14,000 on qualifying vehicles. Ford cancelled the program almost immediately after he was elected in 2018. The federal government currently offers a maximum rebate of $5,000 on “green” vehicles. Several other provinces also offer rebates, most notably Quebec and British Columbia, which have the highest rates of EV adoption across the country.
Despite refusing to incentivize plug-in vehicles, Ford took to Twitter earlier this week following news that Tesla plans to open a factory in Markham, Ontario to make battery manufacturing equipment, which will then be shipped to the company’s facilities around the world to actually make the batteries.
In his tweet, Ford said that “We are all-in when it comes to manufacturing electric vehicles and EV batteries right here in Ontario,” and that “our plan will attract investment and create good jobs in our auto and manufacturing industries.”