At the end of 2016, the Alberta government announced that the implementation of the carbon tax would occur on January 1, 2017. The first payment to individuals making less than $95,000 was January 5th, 2017. The second installment was paid in July.

There as a lot of negativity around the carbon tax, individuals griping that they wouldn’t be able to afford to put a roof over their house and therefore they would consider moving to Mexico (I’m not kidding). I wrote this post earlier in the year and the internet was divided. Some wholeheartedly agreed with what I had to say and other thought I was full of shit. Now that more than three quarters of the year have passed I figured it was a good time to figure out just how much the carbon tax has actually been costing you.

Lucky for you I’ve been keeping track of how much gasoline our household had purchased since the start of the year. Things to consider are as follows:

  • We are a one-vehicle household
  • Neither of us drives to work
  • The vehicle we own is an SUV
  • We travel frequently to Edmonton (3 hours) to visit family
  • We drive to the Okanagan (6 hours) probably once per year for vacay

Here’s the cost in dollars per month we have paid for gas: $1632

And thankfully here is the average cost per litre in Calgary for each month

Note that Statistics Canada has not released the information for October and November so I used an average for these two months. With some quick math, and taking into account the carbon tax premium of 4.49 cents/L I was able to determine we have paid $73.45 for the first 10.5 months of 2017.

Now you are probably wondering what about heat. The condo my husband and I rent have heat included in our rent so we have no additional expense there. But in the matter of fairness, I reached out to one of my good friends who is just as, if not more anal than I am about tracking money. Thankfully for us, he tracked the additional cost per GJ to his household (2 adults, 2 kids) for the current year. His total carbon tax cost for heat was $27.65.

So that gives us a total of $101.10 for the first 10.5 months of 2017, or $9.62 (the price of two lattes) per month. If we extrapolate my results for the remaining 1.5 months you’ll see that the total cost for 2017 is going to be $115.54

This does not include the subsidies that Alberta families will receive, keeping in mind that if you make over $100,000 you won’t receive these benefits. That being said if you’re making six figures and one hundred dollars over the course of the year is going to really hurt you financially then it’s probably time to take control of your finances.

When I look at the data I would say that Albertans have overreacted when it comes to the carbon tax, and we need to shift the narrative to what can we do to use less carbon, and therefore pay less carbon tax. On a global stage, it’s great that Canada is taking a leadership role when it comes to climate change. But the better conversation to have in my opinion is how can you change your lifestyle so that you reduce your carbon footprint.

  • Can you walk to work, or take transit instead of walking?
  • Are you recycling and composting?
  • Where are you traveling to – can you take fewer flights?
  • Do you turn down the heat before you leave the house?
  • Have you installed energy efficient bulbs?

Check out Green Calgary if you’re interested in an amazing eco-friendly organization in Calgary.