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Government official says little about feds’ plans for natural gas taxation

TORONTO, Ont. -- Frank Des Rosiers, an assistant deputy minister with Natural Resources Canada, spoke at the first annual Natural Gas Vehicle Infrastructure Canada conference today, to provide a federal government perspective on the use of...


TORONTO, Ont. — Frank Des Rosiers, an assistant deputy minister with Natural Resources Canada, spoke at the first annual Natural Gas Vehicle Infrastructure Canada conference today, to provide a federal government perspective on the use of natural gas for transportation.

But what delegates really wanted to know from him, was if and when the feds would slap road taxes on natural gas if its status as a substitute to diesel is expanded.

Des Rosiers parried such questions by saying the government cannot discuss future taxation strategies. He did, however, add that using natural gas for transportation “meets a lot of public policy objectives.”

Des Rosiers said the government is aware there are substantial benefits to using natural gas for transportation, including economic benefits to industry and end-users, as well as a 20-25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

He noted Canadian companies have invested more than $350 million in natural gas vehicles, infrastructure and research and development to date.  

The present landscape for natural gas adoption in trucking is “quite encouraging,” Des Rosiers said, because the supply outlook has improved drastically, there have been technological advancements and greater vehicle availability, and there has also been an increased interest among industries and governments worldwide in going green.

Still, it was the taxation issues that delegates returned to. Alicia Milner, president of the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance, said the industry would like some assurance that a road tax won’t be applied to natural gas in the near-term.

“We had Manitoba apply taxation six months ago,” she said. “We were able to get them to scale it back a bit. They acknowledged the revenue impact was negligible but the moved forward (with taxation on natural gas) based on one project. Don’t immediately start to tax something that at this point represents a very small percentage of energy use.”

To which Des Rosiers said, “I’m not in a position to comment about future tax intention.”


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