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Western Canadians running out of fuel in dealing with high energy prices

Posted on 20 April 2022 by Ryan Dahlman

Albertans are complaining about the high prices of petroleum energy. Heating Canadian homes for seemingly 10 months of the year is expensive and now $1.52 per/litre for regular unleaded gasoline?! Blasphemy!

On Easter Sunday, according to Canadian Automobile Association, those in Wild Rose Country were paying the lowest price for gasoline in Canada ranging to $164.9 in Sask., to $1.75 in Ontario to $1.92 average per litre. Nationally, it equates to an average of $1.71.6/L.

As the world seems to be coming out of the pandemic restrictions and people have been itching for two years to travel, I am sure this is all a coincidence (SARCASM OFF), all of a sudden see a spike in price.

There are a lot theories: the Russia/Ukraine war (Ukraine is a natural resource-filled country, including petroleum), the post pandemic holiday escape; Canada’s inability to process all of its petroleum, not enough pipelines to the U.S. causing higher prices and of course the push green environmental-based “green” energy where everyone charges their electric vehicles as well as an addition of solar and wind generated power. etc.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said fuelled powered cars and light trucks in 2035 in order to have net zero emissions by 2050.

It sounds positive as eventually, the world will need to move on from fossil fuels because as a non-renewable resource, once it’s gone, it’s gone. That includes using fossil fuels to create all of these so-called environmentally-friendly sources of power. 

We also need to look after our planet better as do a lot of other countries. 

There is a lot of hypocrisy and double standards as the transition to a new reality has been handled very poorly. 

Optics alone are brutal. To many ordinary people, these lavish UN Climate Change Conferences are just over-the-top pretentious media spectacles held to allow affluent and powerful people to get together, become media darlings and generate positive publicity in order to help push their cause or business.

The problem is that these policy initiatives are handled by wealthy people who have no idea what it is like to live from those in poverty-stricken countries all the way to the North American working class struggling from pay cheque to pay cheque.  

Those in control are influenced by well-organized, well-positioned, single-issue lobbyists working for companies looking to make more money. 

So whether you believe this is just the petroleum companies using world event excuses to raise gasoline to exorbitant levels, it is some sort of conspiracy theory involving governments and environmental lobbyists or it is just bad timing and poor transitional planning by the federal government, the effect on many Canadians is irrefutable.

For example, high petroleum prices have had trickle down effects including the cost of petroleum on a household level, school boards and the transportation of students, the transportation and trucking industry moving goods from one province or country to another. How about civic governments and the cost of fuel for road construction and snow removal. All of these government entities and businesses all pass along the increased costs to directly or indirectly to families and consumers.

Grocery prices were going to increase by 5-7 per cent 2022 Canada’s Food Price Report and anecdotally at least, food prices have definitely jumped.  

Minimum wage in Alberta is $15 which when you take into account all of the different high costs of living, it’s not a lot to live on. In Saskatchewan, it is $11.81, the lowest in the country. 

So, right now, the timing for high fuel prices couldn’t be worse.

If petroleum companies are trying to get as much money as they can out of consumers now while the petroleum-based companies’ executives and shareholders plan their exit strategies, governments are not doing a lot to help consumers.

Maybe high gas prices are all part of the plan of economists and government strategists etc. who are trying to create incentive and motivation to make people want to purchase electric vehicles.

Trouble is, with any new product… remember $1,000 compact disk players?… consumers can’t afford electric vehicles right now, especially now as people struggle to get by with the economy taking such a massive hit recently. 

Besides affordability, only new homes are equipped with built-in electric charging stations, some older homes don’t have the capability to handle that much power and the cost for a rewiring upgrade would be huge. 

There have been grants for municipalities and economic groups to building more electric recharging stations in Southern Alberta and the federal government is offering rebates for those buying electric vehicles, but all in all, not sure how the government plans for all of society to do this petroleum-free  change over. 

There doesn’t appear to be a definitive plan. How does the government plan for large scale businesses such as agriculture to stop using fossils fuels? Haven’t heard a lot about the electric vehicles being turned into combines, doing any mining of non-petroleum based products? How about all the products such as paint, plastic, fertilizers, wax, soap and perfume to name a small minority. 

While the federal government can trumpet all of this new green strategy, it had better start explaining definitively how this transition is going work, because jamming it down the throats of a fragile economy right now might not be the best strategy. 

There are so many issues that don’t seem to have been addressed. What are you going to do with all of those vehicles with petroleum-based engines? Junk them? Hopefully environmental research as found new ways to use recycled vehicles, as of now, we wouldn’t know. 

Ryan Dahlman is the managing editor of Prairie Post East, Prairie Post West and the 40-Mile Commentator

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