Uncovering fake news, verifying politicians’ claims, finding the real numbers: the investigators at our Bureau of Investigation, based in Montreal, Quebec City, and Ottawa, specialize in the art of establishing the facts. Every Saturday, they present their findings to you so you can see the week’s news more clearly.
On Monday, the leader of the Parti Québécois defended on TVA his idea of capping gasoline prices at $1.60 a liter. When confronted by presenter Mario Dumont about the seriousness of his proposal, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon was unequivocal: “Other countries do it. Go see Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg.” Many European countries have done it and are doing it now,” he added on Facebook.
This is false, at least for the countries given as an example. Spain and Portugal have capped the cost of natural gas and coal used to generate electricity, but not the price of gasoline at the pump. Luxembourg passed a law to reduce the price at the pump by 7.5 euro cents, but did not impose a cap as the PQ suggests. The party failed to demonstrate that there was a cap on gasoline in the three countries cited by Mr. St-Pierre-Plamondon.
In a census conducted by L’Heure Juste, only two European countries currently have a limit on the price at the pump: Serbia and Hungary. We present examples of measures implemented in other parts of the world to relieve motorists.
MEASURES TAKEN BY CERTAIN COUNTRIES IN RELATION TO GASOLINE PRICES
Current price: $2.12/L
Actual Price $1.69/liter
From 1Ahem April, Albertans are exempt from the provincial tax normally applied to gasoline and diesel. This equates to a reduction of 13¢ per liter. The measure will be reviewed quarterly, but has no expected completion date.
Actual Price $2.02/liter
Ontario’s parliament passed the Pump Tax Relief Act in mid-April, which includes a 5.7-cent gas tax reduction. The measure will not take effect until July 1 for a period of 6 months. The Ontario NDP has promised that this measure will be reversed if elected in June.
Actual Price $1.58/liter
In late March, US President Joe Biden announced the release of one million barrels of oil per day from the Strategic National Reserve. This move was intended to increase supply and thus drive down pump prices, but the effect was modest. The House of Representatives approved a law on Thursday that could prevent abusive increases in gasoline prices.
Actual Price $1.85/liter
The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, announced last November the suspension of the gasoline tax. This measure, which however does not affect diesel, was renewed in March and will end at the end of June.
Actual Price $2.57/liter*
Prices at the pump are reduced by 15 euro cents from April to July. The mileage bonus has also been increased by 10%, which allows certain taxpayers to deduct amounts for their car trips for work reasons. Truck drivers have received a provision of 400 million euros to compensate for the rise in gasoline prices.
Actual Price $2.67/liter*
The Belgian government has imposed a cap on gasoline prices since 1974, but these are reviewed daily and fluctuate depending on the market. In March, some 100 gas stations temporarily closed because the prices set by the Government were lower than the cost of supply. The government responded by lowering taxes on gasoline and diesel by 17.5 euro cents per litre.
Actual Price $2.45/L *
The government announced in March a significant reduction in taxes on gasoline and diesel of about 30 euro cents per litre. This announcement came after trucking associations said they could no longer afford to haul the goods. The measure was recently extended until July.
Current price: $2.57/L*
A government decree imposes a reduction in the price at the pump from April to June of 20 euro cents per litre. This is a shared compensation: 15 cents is paid by the government and 5 cents by the oil companies.
Actual Price $2.62/liter*
The government canceled the planned increase in the carbon tax and implemented a refund mechanism for one of the gasoline taxes. It also improved the “Autovoucher” gasoline bonus program, which paid compensation to motorists from November 2021 to March 2022. It had a maximum of 5 euros and increased to 20 euros in the last month.
Actual Price $2.80/liter*
From March to June, taxes are reduced by 30 euro cents per liter of gasoline and 14 euro cents per liter of diesel.
Actual Price $1.65/liter
Hungary has imposed a cap on the price of gasoline at the pump, set at 480 guilders per liter, the equivalent of $1.70. The measure was launched last November and should be extended until July 1, not without consequences. hungarian media 24.hu highlights the case of service stations that have to sell gasoline at a loss. Some of them reportedly begged motorists not to refuel, for fear of having to file for bankruptcy.
*Prices in Europe were generally higher prior to this bout of inflation due to taxes, which explains the difference with Quebec prices.
Sources: Reuters, World Gasoline Prices, Bruegel.org, government sites, trans.info and CAA.
–Pascal Dugas-Bourdon and Marie-Christine Trottier
Figure of the week: $3.72/L
This is the Canadian dollar amount of the price of gasoline at the Hong Kong pump as of May 16, according to data from Global Petrol Price. This is the highest price in the world. Hong Kong is followed by Norway and Denmark, which have a pump price of $3.27 and $3.16 per litre, respectively.
– Charles Matthew