Only a third of Quebecers are in favour of the introduction of a carbon market if it leads to an increase in the price of gas

MONTREAL, Aug. 27, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - While the sale of gasoline will as of January 1st, 2015 be subject to a carbon market formed solely by Quebec and California, a Léger Marketing poll commissioned by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) shows that nearly half of Quebecers are opposed to this measure once they learn that it could lead to a 3¢ per litre increase in the price of gas, versus 36% who are in favour of it.

The majority of the people polled were unaware of this initiative designed to fight climate change. Overall, only 54% are in favour of its adoption before finding out about its economic impact.

When they learn that it could raise the price of gasoline by 3¢ per litre, support for this measure falls by a third, or 18 percentage points, and the number of people opposed triples, from 13% to 46%.

"Even if the majority of Quebecers want to fight climate change in principle, many of them find that the price to be paid under this cap and trade system is too high. Increasing the price of gas in Quebec, especially in a context in which our neighbours will not do the same, will undoubtedly be a source of discontent," explains Youri Chassin, economist at the MEI.

When asked about it, most respondents think that it would be better to wait for other provinces or American states to sign on to the agreement before putting it into effect, so as to avoid harming Quebec's competitiveness relative to its neighbours. "Quebecers understand that taking on this kind of burden when others are not doing so risks putting our companies at a disadvantage and hurting our economy," says Michel Kelly-Gagnon, President and CEO of the MEI.

We mustn't forget that Quebec is already one of the provinces with the highest gasoline taxes in Canada. The 3¢ per litre estimate is conservative; some other calculations predict a 10¢ per litre hike by 2020. These increases might not seem large in and of themselves, but it's the total that ends up hurting when you consider that a family with two cars easily pays over $1,200 a year in gasoline taxes," concludes Michel Kelly-Gagnon.

The Internet poll surveyed 1,000 people aged 18 and over from August 11 to 14. The margin of error of a random poll of this size would have been + or – 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its studies and its conferences, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating reforms based on market mechanisms.

SOURCE: Montreal Economic Institute

For further information: Interview requests: Mariam Diaby, Communications Director, Montreal Economic Institute, Tel.: 514-273-0969 ext. 2231, Cell.: 514-668-3063 / Email: mdiaby@iedm.org

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