What do you mean by “up”, Mr Bateman?

In this anti-carbon tax diatribe, Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation makes the following claim:

They trot out the usual garbage from the eastern “thinktanks” claiming the carbon tax has driven down fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, that’s not true: gas sales, according to Statistics Canada, are up in B.C.

Funnily enough, he doesn’t link to Statscan, but to an older CTF post. Here is the relevant Statscan data

Note the difference betweent “Gross” and “Net”. The former is up, yes. The latter is down.

I ask because “Net” is defined by Statscan as “the sale of gasoline, diesel, and liquefied petroleum gas on which taxes were remitted at road-use rates. These net figures represent, with minor exceptions, the amount of taxable fuel actually consumed on public roads” while gross is all sales, included untaxed sales.

Net & gross gas use are not simply a function of taxation of course. The health of the economy, you know, might come into play (note the significant dip in 2008). However net – or those sales that have the carbon tax applied to them – are down in British Columbia.

Which makes Mr. Bateman’s claim, like so many others of his, odd.

I made this point on the CTF website, but for some reason it hasn’t been posted yet.

UPDATE: Apologies to the CTF, my comment was indeed posted in a timely fashion.



  1. Jordan Bateman (@jordanbateman)

    A few points: first, your comment on taxpayer.com is indeed up. Perhaps you need to refresh your browser.

    Second, as first pointed out by Bill Tieleman here (http://billtieleman.blogspot.ca/2012/07/carbontax-empty-promise-from-bc.html) and here (http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2011/07/12/CarbonTax/), and as clearly seen on the Stats Can chart you link to, net gas sales, net diesel sales and gross gas sales all increased from 2008 (the carbon tax came in halfway through that year) to 2011.

    • spartikus

      Hi Jordan,

      Apologies for the late response. I will update my post regarding my comment on the CTF website.

      Yes, if you add net gas sales and net diesel sales, consumption is up for 2011. But this is a meaningless stat unto itself. Year by year consumption fluctuates, and as mentioned is not simply a factor of taxation, nor even of gas prices. The overall economy is the primary factor. And one must ask if for the counterfactual: What would consumption have been absent the carbon tax? There we can get a hint from the consumption in the rest of Canada. We must look at that as well as multi-year trends.