The Real Canadian Hockeystick

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Well, the leaders of the carbophobes in British Columbia are already declaring victory for their carbon-based energy tax as a way to reduce CO2 emissions. They highlight as a main indication of success the reduction in per-capita gasoline use, and my research shows that their numbers are right. Here’s a quote from one of the main tax cheerleaders, the head of a group of no-doubt well-meaning and dedicated rent-seekers called “Sustainable Prosperity”, on the subject (emphasis mine):

Since 2008, per capita gasoline use in BC has declined by 7.3% more than in the rest of Canada (Table 4) – a substantial difference. Gasoline use in BC was already declining faster than in the rest of Canada from 2000-2007 (see Figure 4).

Well, that’s pretty amazing, not only has “gasoline use in BC” leveled off, it’s been declining. You expect the clouds to part and celestial trumpets to ring out for those kinds of results.

… And for those folks like myself who are reluctant to believe in miracles, for those unabashed cynics who wonder how BC is making such deep cuts in gasoline use, consider Figure 1.

one day return trips from BC to USAFigure 1. Changes in the number of one-day return trips to the US from British Columbia, by automobile (blue) and by other means of transportation (red). BC’s carbon-based energy tax went into effect on July 1, 2008. DATA SOURCE: Statistics Canada

The energy tax promoters have almost dislocated their shoulders patting themselves on the back for this momentous drop in gasoline use, as in the quotation above … and meanwhile, fuel suppliers in Alberta are laughing all the way to the bank from sales to BC customers, and lines at US gas stations in border towns are backed up with cars bearing BC license plates …

So what does Figure 1 show? Noble Canadian consumers are buying ever-increasing amounts of gasoline in the US of A, because there’s no carbon tax in Washington State. Patriotism at its finest. And you see how trips by bus and foot and train dropped when the automobile trips increased? So many folks are going from Canada to the US in automobiles that they’re taking their friends with them, plus folks who used to take the bus (or walk) across the border are now taking cars in order to bring back gas. It’s worth it to drive now, because you can bring back a tank full of gasoline with no energy tax.

And how much effect is this entirely predictable human behavior having on the miraculous reduction in BC gas usage? Well, therein lies a tale.

To start with, not only are more BC folks filling their tanks in the US of A, the Evil Carbon Empire, but even without that, BC motor gasoline use is right back up to where it was before the tax …

the dangerous BC trend before the energy taxFigure 2. Changes in total BC gasoline sales for highway use (motor gasoline). Blue line shows the trend from 1993-2007, extended out to 2014. Red line shows the actual data.

So the first oddity is that it turns out that BC gasoline use is rising and has been since 1993, the first year in the record … and that means that per-capita gasoline use is only falling because of increased population. There’s been no decrease in total gasoline use, quite the opposite, it’s been increasing steadily. And since the current climate paradigm is that temperature is a function of total CO2 emissions, not per-capita CO2 emissions, that means that the theorized CO2 warming from BC gasoline emissions is still going up. Dang … guess that estimate of three thousands of a degree of cooling from their actions might have been optimistic …

Emissions from BC motor gasoline have been rising steadily since as far back as Statistics Canada has numbers, 1993, right up to 2007 … which brings me to the second oddity. This is that the tax hasn’t impacted total BC motor gasoline sales in the slightest—they’re right back up the pre-tax trend line. To be sure, during that time the population went up more than the fuel sales … but that’s immaterial regarding total emissions, and if you believe the IPCC, total emissions are all that counts.

But wait … it’s worse. Those are the official Statistics Canada figures. That doesn’t include the gas bought in the US. How much gas is being bought? Here’s one estimate:

Leaving aside trips in excess of two nights for now, we estimate that, in 2012, same-day crossings and overnight U.S. trips of two days or less together amounted to spending by B.C. residents of $1.0 billion to $1.6 billion. This estimate is based on the assumption that almost all (95 per cent) same-day and overnight vehicle crossings involve the purchase of gas, and that the average gasoline purchase was CN$70 last year.

At seventy litres per trip, and with a post-tax increase of about 4 million automobiles going to the US and returning to BC , that adds up to around 70 million gallons of fuel bought in the USA. So that’s one estimate. Now, compare this with the total drop in the BC sales of fuel …

As with total retail spending, per capita sales at B.C. gas stations have gone from exceeding the national average to being well below it within a couple of years. While the carbon tax and Translink-related fuel levies may have prompted some B.C. vehicle owners to drive less, the steep increase in cross-border trips and shopping leads us to conclude that a good portion of the reduction in gasoline sales in the lower mainland especially reflects rising cross-border gas purchases rather than meaningful underlying changes in consumer behaviour. Per capita gas sales in B.C. are now $90 below the Canadian level. As recently as 2009 they were $95 above the Canada-wide average.

How much difference does this make to the BC figures? Well, a change in the BC purchases of gasoline of $185 per capita comes to 180 million gallons. The US purchases account for a good chunk of that. Plus, of course, we have to include millions of gallons bought in Alberta for use in BC, although I can’t find figures on that. As a commenter on my previous thread said,

Add me to the list. I buy enough fuel at the Alberta border with BC to get me to my BC destination. Then if I am near the US border like at Grand Forks, I slip across the border like everyone else and fill up for the return trip. The US Danville station there is just a few hundred metres across the border.

So let me take as a rough estimate a hundred million gallons of gas transported into BC from the US and Alberta. Given that, here’s the net result:

How the BC folks evade energy taxFigure 3. Highway gasoline sales in BC, plus purchases made in the USA.

As you can see, the net effect of the BC energy tax on highway gasoline sales has been a fairly significant rise in CO2 emissions … heck of a plan they’ve got there. Note also that as far as I know they don’t account for the “leakage” of gasoline over the border when making their overblown claims about CO2 reduction … surprising, I know.

So for those claiming that BC is a shining example that we should all follow? Sorry, but the claim has always been that we need to reduce total emissions, and regarding the CO2 emissions of motor gasoline in British Columbia, they’re increasing, not going down. Never get to three-thousands of a degree of cooling that way, no sirree.


NOTE: This is one of a four-part series on the BC carbon-based energy tax. The parts are:

British Columbia, British Utopia

Fuel on the Highway in British Pre-Columbia

The Real Canadian Hockeystick

Why Revenue Neutral Isn’t, and Other Costs of the BC Tax

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Genealogist Manfred Jose Nissley
July 13, 2013 3:29 pm

On that first graph, why are one percent and negative-one percent each listed twice? Kinda confusing.
[Wasn’t showing enough decimals, fixed. Thanks, -w.]

July 13, 2013 3:33 pm

“Think local, act stupid” should be the green motto in a global economy.

Gary Hladik
July 13, 2013 3:48 pm

Hey, fair’s fair! During Prohibition, yanks bootlegged Canadian booze into the US. Now we return the favor, and let Canadians bootleg US gasoline into Canada.
I wonder how much of the gas is made from Canadian oil?

July 13, 2013 4:03 pm

Oh, those fuelish BC politicians.

July 13, 2013 4:03 pm

‘California dreaming’ has come to British Columbia.

I.V. Baker
July 13, 2013 4:10 pm

Stupidity is a political do-gooder who tries to force others to do their will. It is funny that it is only when it is not for your ‘own good’ that it is called tyranny.

Les Johnson
July 13, 2013 4:20 pm

Willis: My first thought is that a rising Canadian $ contributed to those cross border visits.
I would have been wrong. The CAD lost about 40% of its value against the USD, 2007-2009.
For my American friends across the border, let me emphasize that: It was cheaper to buy fuel in the US (and other goods), than in BC, in spite of a 40% differential in currency.

July 13, 2013 4:28 pm

Add me to the list of people living in B.C. who purchase gas in the province less than once every couple months. The weekly fill-up is in Blaine. Pick the right time on the right morning and there is no wait at the U.S. customs (8 lines open) with a much longer wait coming back into Canada (2 booths open, the other 10 or 12 CBSA agents chatting and drinking coffee in the office).
Most of the difference in pricing though comes from the Transit Tax, not the Carbon Tax. The regional transit board has clearly never heard of the Laffer Curve, because they keep increasing tax on gasoline and are totally confused when the revenue generated doesn’t rise linearly with the tax increase.
Another outrageous feature of the Carbon Tax is that it is based on a price of $25 per ton for carbon offsets. If they used a market price (somewhere between 10 cents and $3) it would be annoying, but not crippling.

July 13, 2013 4:44 pm

Two other unaccounted factors –
1. The higher price of gasoline in BC from 2003 to 2013 ($0.72/ litre to $1.39/ litre,,&Unit=CAN%20c/L ) would have an overall dampening effect on gas usage among low income earners, BUT,
2. Each year more and more efficient cars are hitting the highway bought by higher income earners.
So it would appear per capita use among wealthier British Columbians is actually skyrocketing.

July 13, 2013 4:46 pm

So not only are they taking the same amount of trips they are also traveling farther to fill up, so they’re carbon contribution has actually gone up!

Gary Pearse
July 13, 2013 5:05 pm

Some one in BC please send this on to the Vancouver papers and TV.

July 13, 2013 5:09 pm

Having remodeled a house in BC with a ton of US items, I can tell you it is mostly in the exchange rate. For the shaft of your hockey stick, a CAD was about .82 USD. They changed to 1 to 1, and the buying frenzy began, forming the blade. They told me at the border that imports of US purchased cars went from 2-3 a day to 50-60 a day.

July 13, 2013 5:09 pm

Willis, your first graph is what being sceptical is all about. When people talk of electric cars you have to ask about how the electricity is produced etc.

July 13, 2013 5:15 pm

I forgot to also mention that the top graph should act as a general warning to Warmists. People are not all pig stupid. You stop the developing world from building coal or oil powered stations and they will cut every tree they need to for cooking and heat. It is as simple as that. How much has that dented co2 in our atmosphere? Greens seem to think there are (currently) easy solutions for our energy issues.

July 13, 2013 5:30 pm

To start with, not only are more BC folks filling their tanks in the US of A, the Evil Carbon Empire, but even without that, BC motor gasoline use is right back up to where it was before the tax …

Dang … guess that estimate of three thousands of a degree of cooling from their actions might have been optimistic …
Is it just possible, due to cost savings, that they could go higher than the blue trend line in their motor gasoline use? If that happens then it’s another fine example of the Law of Unintended Consequences at work. I was typing and reading alternatively and see you got it covered. 🙂
The question Warmists have to answer honestly is this: What would you do if you owned a car near the US / BC border?

July 13, 2013 5:31 pm

Oooops. I meant to blockquote
“Dang … guess that estimate of three thousands of a degree of cooling from their actions might have been optimistic …”

July 13, 2013 5:45 pm

The article made mention that BC GHG emissions were down while Canada’s were up. I looked in Stats Can for any GHG emission charts and found none. Even if there are numbers they would be calculated, (as I am quite sure there is no monitor in each province that only monitors the air coming from the province) and since BC has no idea how much gasoline is burned in the province they would be wrong. About the Patriotism. It is not unpatriotic to ignore a government’s attempt at removing all the money from your wallet. Especially when the government was not mandated by the people to pass that legislation.

Steve in SC
July 13, 2013 5:54 pm

30 years ago the Canucks would jam the bridge at Niagra Falls bringing beer and going back with gasoline and cigarettes.

Robert in Calgary
July 13, 2013 6:24 pm

Transit funding in BC is another great story of government courage. /sarc off.

July 13, 2013 6:25 pm

Great work Willis.
How can this be put out to the Canadian MSM. It’s vitally important they see it

July 13, 2013 6:27 pm

How can this be put out to the Canadian MSM?
[Fixed. -w.]

July 13, 2013 6:32 pm

Willis E. said:
“As you can see, the net effect of the BC energy tax on highway gasoline sales has been a fairly significant rise in CO2 emissions …”
With numbers mentioned in the article, I see that BC’s tax got people to drive a little less (or use more fuel-efficient cars) and use a little less gas overall, but greatly increase their usage of gas sold outside BC. As said, per capita consumption has been on a more downward trend than in the rest of Canada since 2000, but gasoline usage increased due to population growth.
Since numbers that were cited mentioned an increase of out-of-BC per-capita sales less than the total per-capita sales, I don’t see the effect of the tax as making gasoline consumption higher than if it did not exist. I see the dark blue line in the right side of Figure 3 crossing a linear trend
of pre-2008-tax sales not an effect of the tax if per-capita consumption, including out-of-BC purchases, is continuing to decrease. I suspect more likely, the linear trend of a dataset ending in 2007 is not sufficiently reflecting whatever caused the 2009-2011 uptick.
And a 2-2.5% increase in short duration car trips to USA (Figure 1) does not appear to me to explain a ~5% increase in gasoline consumption (dark blue line compared to linear trend in right side of Figure 3). Perhaps BC gained industry from nearby USA due to healthcare coverage being less of a problem of employers in Canada than in USA, while healthcare coverage inflation has been huge. I have seen this happening in Ontario – especially in Mississauga.
Not that I think the energy tax was very effective at reducing gasoline consumption, or that I think manmade global warming is as big a problem as claimed by most advocates of its existence.
But, I have doubts of the “net effect of the BC energy tax”, as in gasoline consumption with the tax *in comparison to gasoline consumption without the tax*, is increase of gasoline consumption.

July 13, 2013 6:42 pm

The BC carbon tax is just another wallet-grabbing exercise.
That said, you’d have to figure out the relative impacts of:
a) The substantial runup in gas prices on both sides of the border at about the time of that dip
b) The relative health of the Canadian economy (more disposable income means more driving)
c) The huge swing in the Looney-to-USD exchange rate in the same period

July 13, 2013 6:44 pm

Regular gasoline is selling for $1.51 per liter, in Vancouver.
I just filled up at Costco, in Burlington WA, for $3.939 per gallon.
Do the math!

Joe Born
July 13, 2013 7:10 pm

Willis Eschenbach: “There’s been no decrease in total gasoline use, quite the opposite, it’s been increasing steadily. And since the current climate paradigm is that temperature is a function of total CO2 emissions, not per-capita CO2 emissions, that means that the theorized CO2 warming from BC gasoline emissions is still going up.”
But, so what?
Believe it or not, I’m a fan, but that statement leaves me cold. If we were to concede that CO2 emission is a bad thing, then reducing per capita emissions is a good thing; total emissions may still be increasing (but not necessarily, about which more anon), but less than they otherwise would.
Additionally, if BC population is increasing at other provinces’ (or any other nations’) expense, then that increase in low-per-capita-emission-region population at the expense of higher-per-capita-emssion-region population can conceivably mean that total emissions are decreasing as a result.
I recognize that he thereafter explains that even the per-capita reduction may be illusory; I’m just saying that the quoted passage is a logical flaw.

July 13, 2013 7:22 pm

Adam Smith is laughing. The “unintended consequences of stupidity” strike yet again.

July 13, 2013 7:26 pm

If one wants to enact a tax on motor fuel consumption, to motivate people to use less fuel:
Not that I think manmade global warming (which I see as existing) is quite enough of a problem that it requires solutions that significantly hamper economic growth. For one thing, more economic growth increases human ability to deal with a planetary disaster decades or more in the future, and that may be something other than global warming.
More important reasons to motivate reduced fuel consumption are to make the fossil fuel supply last longer, and to reduce 1st-world nations being dependent on 3rd-world nations that hate them except as fossil fuel customers.
Any tax for such purpose needs to be broad-based in what it covers, and focused on what is less-energy-efficient than it can be (or otherwise wasteful).
I would propose such a tax to be designed by a “blue ribbon committee”, of perhaps 12 appointees, appointed according to relevant legislation requiring perhaps 12 appointers, by perhaps in USA:
The most senior Democrat and the most senior Republican in the respective Senate and House committees relevant to energy and to commerce. 2 other appointers are the highest ranking House member and the highest ranking Senate member of the House-Senate Conference Committee. The remaining 2 are the Secretaries of Commerce and of Energy.
If there has to be a 13th, that would be the top person in EPA, but I have seen EPA as more obstructionist and grandstanding than the Department of Energy. I have even heard a cascade of tales of an issue, that (as I remember) I heard from a magazine favoring energy-efficient lighting, and often mentioning how many tons of CO2 enission were prevented by big places switching-to or newly-installing that magazine’s favorite basic-lamp-technology of energy-efficient lighting. (The magazine-relevant lighting technology is LED.)
I would further propose that legislation authorizing such a “Blue Ribbon Committee” has a clause to allow it to refuse recommendations, on basis of excessive political polarization. Also, I would want auhorizing legislation to prohibit gifts (as presumably by biased parties), as needing to be reported to IRS.
Turns out, a similar “blue ribbon committee” largely accomplished a reccomendation to
close a bunch of military bases, mostly pork-barrel ones but a few were in or near leftish big cities, such as one that wanted to ban nuclear weapons from its naval yard.
Good way to get government employment reduced!
In what I am thinking of, this committee makes recommendations as to how much or how
little government needs to motivate energy conservation – both in whole, and carbon-based.
This would be via proposed *very specific* legislations and regulations.
I also want legislation authorizing such a committee to allow it to say that it refuses to
agree on anything by a required ratio – I prefer 60/40.

Philip Bradley
July 13, 2013 7:38 pm

My wife is from Vancouver and and shopping trips across the border into the USA have long been popular, to take advantage of lower prices. In large part, due to lower US taxes.
So, not only is BC losing revenues from more people buying gas in the USA, it will also be losing revenues from more purchases of other goods in the USA.

July 13, 2013 8:09 pm

I think you can probably find a correlation between added highway miles and reduced fuel consumption in Vancouver. What used to take hours of bumping along in VBC street level traffic is now a breeze with the new freeway/turnpike roads. The hell of it is it is still a major PITA to cross the border in either direction unless you cross at Nighthawk or Osoyoos lake. BTW, what ever happened to the great BC scheme to create hydrogen highways? Google it – there’s quite a greensworld fantasy wound around that.

Kevin Lohse
July 13, 2013 8:59 pm

I find this story very uplifting, celebrating as it does the triumph of bloody-minded human ingenuity over ideological oppression. Well done you Canucks!

July 13, 2013 9:08 pm

Yep, that’s what a tax does. In international media Finland has been used as an example of how a tax on alcohol reduces alcohol sales and therefore also consumption. Unfortunately there is a catch. We are surrounded by countries that have much lower alcohol taxes than us – Estonia, Russia and Sweden. And then there are cruise ships sailing back and forth the baltic sea, just so that the passengers can buy tax-free booze.
A bottle of irish or belgian beer costs currently over 1€ less in Sweden than in Finland, and the price is even lower in Estonia and Russia.
When the tax goes down, importing becomes less worth the hassle. When the tax goes up, it starts to pay again. Our moron leaders think they are actually adjusting the consumption, when all they are doing is making people hoard alcohol from abroad. And having large storages of alcohol isn’t really an incentive to quit drinking.

Martin Cregg-Guinan
July 13, 2013 9:18 pm

I sent links to the posts to the writer of the article on BC Carbon tax’s success in the Vancouver Sun, and to the author of the follow-up. Let’s see if or when I get a response…

July 13, 2013 9:31 pm

Willis, you nailed it…..just like you usually do. Thanks again.

Gen. P. Malaise
July 13, 2013 10:44 pm

while it may not be a hockey stick ..the people of BC are definitely get a shaft.
it also increases the carbon “tire” foot print as it increases the miles because of increased driving to get fuel.
still it isn’t fair what Willis is doing here. he is using a brain against self lobotomized progs.

July 13, 2013 11:10 pm

But how about “declining faster than in the rest of Canada from 2000-2007”, Willis?
Your point that they claim some amount of cooling isn’t found, and appears as a
strawman in light of the actual quote.

July 13, 2013 11:39 pm

Vancouver gas price includes 15c (?) transit tax not “enjoyed” by the rest of BC.
Did someone point out that it was meanie-Greenie Andrew Weaver who whispered in Gordon Campbell’s ear to inspire the Carbon Tax?

Brian H
July 14, 2013 12:30 am

Since on average it’s certain to be further to drive to get to the US/Alberta gas pump than the neighborhood one, the tax has necessarily increased driving and hence usage. But since CO2 is a benefit, it’s all good!

July 14, 2013 1:32 am

What about the transfer of other economic activity, not just gas sales ?
“Heck, while I’m here in the US buying cheap US gas, I guess I’ll buy US newspapers/ candy/ cola go to the US supermarket next door and buy US food, take the significant other for a US meal in a US restaurant etc etc etc”

July 14, 2013 4:01 am

Just for a comparison, in the UK gas( petrol) is about £ 1,35 per lite which equates top about CAD $ 2.10 per litre. The BC guys have nothing on our lot. 🙁

July 14, 2013 4:07 am

Given the disparity between domestic electricity and gasoline prices, especially if greentard governments are rampaging around imposing carbon taxes on fuel, at what point does it become worth having your own backyard CTL plant, for producing gasoline for your car?

July 14, 2013 4:47 am

In summary, if a local government raises taxes on goods that can be purchased outside their tax jurisdiction consumers will purchase the goods elsewhere.Check New York cigarette tax for further proof. Unlike gasoline, cigarettes can be bootlegged so the honest merchants suffer a revenue loss well. Human behavior is pretty predictable for those that care to observe.Socialist are exempted.

July 14, 2013 6:48 am

Best regards, and watch out for memory, it’s a fickle friend …
Quite true Willis, Those numbers are firm in my memory because I bought that house when the CAD was .82 and sold it at 1.00. Thanks for doing the homework.

Paul Vaughan
July 14, 2013 7:48 am

It’s easy to make a long list of egregious things done by the government of BC, but that doesn’t cure the root problem:
There are no acceptable political parties in BC.
Every one of the parties we have here will cause serious problems if elected.
For the frustrated BC electorate, the lesser of evils ends up being a parasite because people deeply fear the other option is a predator that will kill the economy.
People aren’t voting for the crap they get. They’ve voting against something they deeply fear will be far worse.
The problem isn’t lack of awareness. It’s a lack of viable alternatives. (Hence low voter turnout and seriously incorrect pre-election polling that reflected expression of anger towards parasites, but not willingness to become prey on election day.)
Moving forward we need to find a way to create viable, sensible alternatives.
This is a formidable challenge. Help from outside BC might be welcome.

July 14, 2013 7:57 am

Multiple recent trips to Bellingham and Burlington reveal an extraordinary share of the big box parking lots are jammed with BC cars. I’ve counted random samples several times and generally hit in the 0.5 range. (A high percentage of those are expat Chinese speaking Mandarin.)
These are the open borders that everyone can love. Adam Smith would be proud.

stewart pid
July 14, 2013 8:01 am

For what it is worth I moved west to Alberta in 1980 and skied in BC regularly every year even buying a condo in Fernie BC in 1996 which I still own and visit regularly. Gasoline in BC was always a little pricier than on the Alberta side but the few cents a litre was more nuisance and something we would comment on regarding BC’s higher gas taxes and a provincial sales tax making BC’s cost of living higher.
However with the price increase in 2008 the much higher gasoline prices stuck out like dog balls and that was the end of my purchases of gasoline in BC. If road conditions are suspect I fill up at the border before crossing into the “high price area” … if I drive a lot in BC I try to make it back out to Alberta to fill the tank. Everyone I know does the same and no BC person would not fill up before returning from the US or Alberta.
The carbon tax has changed behaviour but not necessarily the way the loons of the left think it has. For me it seems that a few cents a litre price difference wasn’t an issue but once it was pricier by 10 to 15 cents a litre or $10 dearer to fill up in BC then my behaviour (and all family and friends) changed dramatically since at ten dollars you seem to hit that level of significance that matters.

July 14, 2013 8:47 am
Sorry Folks!
I’m posting comments through my smart phone.
I originally wrote that the Burlington Costco was selling gas for $3.939/gal.
It should been $3.639/gal.
That’s right! Even a bigger price difference.

Bob Maginnis
July 14, 2013 11:19 am

My USA should charge about $0.50/gallon for military expense of imported oil, and the fed highway tax should increase to match inflation, to fix crumbling infrastructure, hasn’t increased in 20 years: “Since 1993, the U.S. federal gasoline tax has been 18.4¢/gal (4.86¢/L).”

July 14, 2013 12:02 pm

Sorry to contradict Willis’ excellent analysis, but the BC carbon tax is 100% effective. The only purpose of a tax is for the government to steal your money.

July 14, 2013 1:01 pm

Looks like the market works, I just wonder what it makes with the canadian revenue figures.

July 14, 2013 1:55 pm

Last year when Crispy Clark came round looking for votes here in SE BC my wife ask her “why have a carbon tax when hurts the economy and unfairly taxes rural BC for going to work. Clark answered “It’s simple, this money goes to general revenue and we can’t do without it.” Kindof a catch 22 because a lot of that money is now going to the states.Oops!

Odd Man Out
July 14, 2013 2:46 pm

It seems everyone has forgotten that provincial income tax rates were reduced when the carbon tax was imposed. For almost everybody, and the government too, the trade of one for the other is close to a wash.

July 14, 2013 3:17 pm

Thanks, Willis.
“heck of a plan they’ve got there”. Any planning against the market’s natural forces requires real communist forcing to implant. And these plans always hurt the people, starting with the poorest.

July 14, 2013 4:36 pm

Odd Man Out says:
July 14, 2013 at 2:46 pm
It seems everyone has forgotten that provincial income tax rates were reduced when the carbon tax was imposed. For almost everybody, and the government too, the trade of one for the other is close to a wash.
The glaring exception to “almost everybody” is those who pay little or no income tax, i.e. the poor. They can’t, however, avoid paying the extras that are tacked on to the cost of almost everything because of a CO2 tax.
Also, as posters have noted, the locals are now spending their money over the border (and not just on fuel) which adversely affects local business and – shock, horror – local tax revenue. I bet the provincial government would ban cross-border shopping if they could.

Peter in NZ
July 14, 2013 5:08 pm

This sort of increase in tax would work in New Zealand. Not as if we can drive to Australia to get cheaper fuel!
Shows Green Canadians are as thick as Greens elsewhere though.

Mario Lento
July 14, 2013 6:46 pm

Thank you Willis!

Lil Fella from OZ
July 14, 2013 7:32 pm

Thanks for your time and effort Willis. Appreciated!

July 14, 2013 8:30 pm

All Canadians know that when you visit BC it means “bring cash”.
I drove Calgary to Spokane and back this week. Filled in Alberta, traversed BC. On the way back, filled Idaho, traversed BC. AB CAD$1.2 / litre. BC CAD$1.38 / litre. Idaho USD$3.65 / US gal (about CAD$1.02 / litre). Why did I not buy in BC?

July 15, 2013 5:20 am

Here’s another factor: Look at your exchange rate vs trip graph—- the first blip of increase was indeed part of a shopping frenzy brought on by the 1:1 exchange rate. Problem was, there were two hour waits at the boarder, so that increase was unsustainable (and, might I add, left lots of vehicles idle, cranking out extra CO2).
The busiest crossing by far is the Peace Arch on I-5. It was expanded from three lanes to ten, making it practical for far greater traffic flow when the CAD bounced back to parity. That helped the blade of your graph to grow and grow.
Combine that with the fact that it is not just gas which is cheaper:
“Peacock compared prices on 19 commonly found household items such as crackers, batteries and cereal, and found double-digit price differentials on 16 of them. The highest price disparity was on diary and eggs, with average milk prices nearly 42-per-cent lower in the U.S., butter retailing for 17-per-cent less and eggs nearly 38-per-cent less. The biggest difference, however, was on cheese, where American prices were nearly 60 per cent below those of Canadian retailers.”
SURREY (NEWS1130) – Some major improvements to the Peace Arch border are near completion. Soon heading into the States will now be more efficient and provide better safety.
This weekend the US Border Patrol began their transition into a new high tech security building. While the move will be gradual, the Service Port for Blaine aims to tear down the old building within the week.
So what can you expect now that the buildings are switched. Mike Milne with the Port says by the time construction is done in the fall there will be up to ten lanes southbound that could be open at any given time. Currently there are only three lanes to get you into the states.
Milne also says “With the security enhancements wait times should be shorter and that the new configuration will also allow the vast majority of travellers to be able to process through more effectively and efficiently and hopefully it will lead to less waiting and more travelling.”
One of the more impressive security features includes having every lane equipped for Nexus use.

July 15, 2013 10:41 am

When an industry leaves BC or decides not to locate in BC because of the carbon tax
scam is that “Revenue Neutral” ? The BC Liberals new from the beginning that if no
other competing Provinces or States but in a carbon tax the result was damaging to
BC . What is now revealing after five years is they are hooked on the cash and the
appropriate people have been bought .

July 15, 2013 10:20 pm

Doug mentions Nexus…
For those who don’t know, a Nexus Pass essentially provides pre-screening for border crossing, in most cases completely eliminating the need to even stop at the border.

July 24, 2013 9:29 am

They are still claiming it: “B.C. carbon tax cut fuel use, didn’t hurt economy”

“You often hear people say you can’t have an healthy environment and a strong economy,” said Stewart Elgie, a University of Ottawa professor of law and economics. “B.C.’s experience shows that’s not true.”

Typical reader comment: It may not have hurt the economy, but it does hurt individuals.

July 25, 2013 10:06 am

“WaPo’s Incomplete Coverage of British Columbia’s Carbon Tax”

Unfortunately, Plumer’s coverage of BC’s carbon tax was incomplete, and it only considered a problematic report from a pro-carbon tax group in Ottawa, Canada, entitled Sustainable Prosperity. In a follow-up study, my colleague and I looked in detail at the positive claims made by Sustainable Prosperity regarding BC’s carbon tax, and we were unable to reproduce them.

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