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The big squeeze

Rising taxes, rising costs, and the impact on the Whistler standard of living



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Now consider something else. The lowest price that gas hit in 2008 was $1.036 per litre – and that was on Jan. 22, according to Natural Resources Canada.

The tank for a Ford Focus SE Wagon is 13.2 gallons, or almost 40 litres. To fill the thing all the way up on the cheapest day of the year would have been about $51.50. Depending on how much you drive, that can add up to over $150 in a month if you have to fill it up three times. And that’s just the cheapest rate in January.

Flash forward to June 27, 2008. Gas prices are reaching some of their highest levels in years, according to gasbuddy.com. The price of gas at a Petro-Canada station in Squamish was $1.429 per litre. Taking this into account, the price of a full tank of gas on the Focus jumps to more than $70. If you fill it up three times this month and the price stays steady, you’re at upwards of $200 a month.

And this is only for a small car. Lots of people in Whistler need bigger vehicles to lug around their skiing equipment and various other things, whether it’s construction tools, a snowmobile, or luggage for a weekend trip. A Ford Focus cannot nearly haul the gear that a sport utility vehicle could.

Behind door number two, take a Cadillac Escalade. It’s among the bigger SUV models, but nevertheless makes a good case study for the exorbitant strains on finances that gas prices can create.

To put it simply, the fuel tank of an Escalade is almost double the size of a Ford Focus – 26 gallons, according to the Cadillac website. At current gas prices, you could be paying up to $140 to fill that tank just one time. Multiply that by the number of times you’ll need to fill it in a month and… well, you do the math.

All these prices were rendered moot as of Tuesday, July 1.

The B.C. carbon tax has applied a levy of $10 per tonne of associated carbon emissions, a rate that will rise by $5 each year for five years before hitting $30 per tonne by 2012. The provincial government estimates that the tax will apply 2.41 cents to each litre of gasoline now, reaching 7.24 cents per litre in 2012.