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Environment-Conscious Quebecois Buy More Gas Guzzlers

A report from HEC Montreal, a business school in Quebec, has revealed that while the province publicly boasts its environmentally conscious approach to energy, the locals are buying more SUVs and consuming more gasoline.

“Quebeckers are clearly keen on the concept of the energy transition, but their energy consumption habits prevent them from actually making it,” the report’s authors said, noting the per capita energy consumption level in the province remained relatively high, at 193 gigajoules. While lower than the rest of Canada or the United States, this was higher than the per capita energy consumption of Germany and Norway.

“On the one hand, Quebec is the envy of its neighbours, with close to 50% of the energy used here coming from renewable sources and surplus clean electricity available for export,” one of the authors of the report, Professor Pierre-Olivier Pineau said. “But on the other hand, Quebeckers continue to invest record amounts in buying more and more large gas-guzzling vehicles and larger and larger homes – tendencies that make it harder to reach the targets that the government set, i.e. to reduce consumption of petroleum products by 40% and greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5% by 2030.”

Although 100 percent of Quebec’s power comes from renewable sources, according to Pineau, the growing number of cars needs fuels and most of these come from Alberta and the United States. Quebec’s Premier Francois Legault, CBC reports, recently angered Albertans when he said that Quebec did not need “dirty” oil from Alberta. Alberta’s Premier, Rachel Notley, responded with a comment that Legault "needs to get off his high horse."

Indeed, a more moderate approach might be advisable. According to the HEC Montreal report, in the period 1990 and 2017 sales of SUVs, trucks and pick-ups had soared by 246 percent, and sales of gasoline had risen by a third over the period.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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