QUEBEC CITY – There have been attempts by the Quebec government to legislate gas pricing.
In 2007, then Natural Resources Minister Claude Béchard wanted the process of fuel pricing to be more transparent.
He tabled Bill 41 forcing oil companies to justify price hikes.
The petrol industry argued it would create additional costs to doing business in Quebec and the bill died on the order paper.
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Since then, gas prices have slipped below a dollar a litre – as low as 65 cents in Alberta.
Many Global News viewers responded, asking why Quebecers always end up paying more for their gas.
Taxes of course are partly to blame.
Quebec gas buyers are indeed the most heavily taxed in North America.
According to CAA, they pay 10 cents in federal excise tax, 19 cents in Quebec fuel tax, and 3 cents in Montreal tax for public transportation.
READ MORE: Breaking it down: Montreal gas prices
Plus, five per cent GST and nearly 10 percent PST.
According to budget documents, in 2013-2014 the province’s own-source revenue from the specific taxes on fuel totals nearly $2.3 billion.
But Finance Ministry spokesperson Jacques Delorme says ‘don’t think the government is raking in the cash.’
A 2008 ministry study shows that for every 5 cent increase in gas prices, the Quebec government loses $6 million.
That’s because the province uses great amounts of oil to heat buildings like hospitals.
When gas prices go down, Quebec gains a little and puts that money aside to be redistributed to all government departments.
WATCH: CAA spokesperson Anne-Sophie Hamel talks about why Quebecers pays higher taxes and how we can make the most of the low prices
“Motorists are on the right side of the equation because the price is way less than it was,” said CAA spokesperson Anne-Sophie Hamel.
“Only a few months ago the average price was 1.49. Now, it’s 0.96. It’s a welcome change and a break for motorists’ wallet.”
Higher gas prices in some regions may be due to price fixing, explains Hamel, although there are many factors at play: volume and taxation differ from one region to another.
Still, she says there are a few things motorists can do to make sure they pay the lowest price.
“There’s a lot of tools now online,” said Hamel.
“We have one called Gasoline Watch. I encourage people to go on that site and see if they are paying a fair price for their gas.”
While it’s impossible to predict where gas prices are headed, one thing is for sure: drivers will soon pay an extra 3 cents a litre when Quebec implements a new carbon tax later this month.