Doug Ford puts gasoline companies ‘on notice’ over weekend price hikes

Doug Ford made a vague threat to regulate gasoline prices Friday as he served notice his first acts as premier will be to cut the carbon tax on fuel and exit the cap-and-trade program.

“Nothing drives people more crazy than on the weekend mysteriously all these prices of gas go up,” the premier-designate said two weeks before he will be sworn in to replace Kathleen Wynne.

“The gas companies, I’m putting you on notice. You aren’t going to be playing these games out of the blue ….it’s not going to happen,” Ford added before walking away as reporters asked for more details.

During the election campaign, only NDP Leader Andrea Horwath pledged to regulate gas prices by capping how much the cost per litre can be raised, likely setting prices on Sundays or Mondays for the rest of the week.

A study commissioned by the Ontario Energy Board last fall warned such measures do not necessarily work in favour of motorists, in part because they prevent price wars.

Earlier in his news conference, the former city councillor said the “very first item” of business for his Progressive Conservative government will be to axe the 4.3 cent per litre carbon tax on gasoline.

“This will mean immediate relief at the pumps,” said Ford, who has also promised to cut another 5.7 cents per litre with a reduction in the provincial excise tax.

But he did not say when that will come, fulfilling his election promise of a 10-cent reduction in taxes on a litre of gasoline.

His pledge to end the cap-and-trade program, designed to cap and lower carbon emissions over time, drew an immediate rebuke from Greenpeace.

“By abandoning action on climate change, Doug Ford is simply raising the extreme weather tax which is already wrecking homes, crops and public infrastructure,” said Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist for the environmental group.

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