The drop in gas prices in Ontario forces the Outaouais to adjust

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Falling gas prices in Ontario force the Outaouais to adjust

The price of gas is much higher in the Outaouais than in Ottawa since the announcement of the Ontario gas tax reduction.

The price difference of gasoline on both sides of the Ottawa River is forcing some gas stations in Gatineau to adjust their prices. A breath of fresh air, according to some taxi companies who are asking for intervention from the Quebec government.

My clients came, they apologized and said to me: "It's too expensive for you, I'm going to gas in Ontario," says Georges Tadis, owner of a Petro-Canada gas station on the boulevard de la Gappe, in Gatineau.

He therefore decided to act, willy-nilly.

I had to lower the price to $1.99 a liter because all my customers who work in Ontario are going to gas there and it's not good for our economy, he explains.

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Georges Tadis, owner of a Petro-Canada gas station on boulevard de la Gappe, in Gatineau

But this decision is not without consequences for his business.

I am losing money, because the day before yesterday, I made a order gas at the high price, then I had to go down [the prices]. And so I lost about 8 cents per litre, Tadis estimates.

Last week, Doug Ford announced a reduction in the Ontario tax on gasoline by 5.7 cents per liter of gasoline for the next six months. This came into force on July 1.

The Ontario government thus intends to respect its commitment last spring to offer respite to motorists in the context of an increase in the cost of living.

Quickly, the measure was had an impact on prices at the pumps in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario and many motorists, like Mr. Tadis' customers, decided to take advantage of it.

Alexandre Rizk, general manager of the Loyal group, in Gatineau (archives)

Some taxi drivers in the Outaouais, hard hit by rising fuel costs, make the same calculation, and favor the Ontario side of the capital, recognizes Alexandre Rizk, general manager of the Loyal group, in Gatineau.

Unfortunately, we still want to support all Quebec companies and gas pumps in Quebec, but when the difference is 35 to 40 cents per liter and you do 200 to 300 kilometers a day, it makes a big difference in the end. of the week for the driver and for the company, he explains. When it was $200 for a week's gas, today it costs $400 to $500.

In an inflationary environment, such a difference is difficult to absorb, he continues.

When we see that there are increases, inflation everywhere, in all sectors, it is not the time to lose income. It's time to have a little more to be able to get there, argues Mr. Rizk, who recalls that the 18% increase in Quebec taxi fares, announced recently, will not come into effect. force only in September.

According to the general manager of the Loyal group, the government of François Legault should do more to deal with this situation.

We don't see enough government action […]. We haven't really seen anything yet.

Mr. Tadis nods. He hopes that Quebec will follow Ontario's path.

[What would I like? It's] to lower the gas tax, that's all. Giving customers a break, because it's too expensive. This is the first time I've seen a gas truck for $250. I've never seen that!

So far, the Quebec government has repeated that it does not want to touch the fuel tax.

According to Jean-Thomas Bernard, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Ottawa, such a measure does not favor long-term consumers.

When you cut taxes, you don't solve the basic problem. In any case, the only price that is controlled at the user level, within Canada, are the distribution margins, he explains.

For Mr. Rizk, the other solution, in the longer term, would be to support the electrification of taxis.

It's something we've been looking at lately, but we find that the Government of Quebec is not getting involved enough. We would need more support and there is not really any advantage in going towards electrification. Cars are not purchasable, we are not able to find any. […] It will take support from the government of Quebec and the federal government, he believes.

With information from Stéphane Leclerc and Christian Milette< /em>

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