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Quebecers would need to drive a lot less if the province is to hit its net-zero targets, energy minister Pierre Fitzgibbon told media.
Earlier he had said that the number of cars in Quebec needs to halve, for both gas-powered and electric vehicles.
According to Fitzgibbon, “It’s going to come naturally. Quebecers are intelligent people.”
“Who am I to say you shouldn’t drive a Ford Explorer with a lot of fuel? That’s your decision. Maybe it’s going to cost more money to do it, but it’s not the government’s job to tell you what to drive,” the minister also said, as quoted by Global News.
Driving is already quite expensive in all Canadian provinces thanks to the federal government’s carbon tax efforts. Yet this does not seem to have deterred a lot of people from owning and using cars.
Per the provincial energy minister, lower car ownership is only part of the equation, however. "It's a matter of being consistent and if we want to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, consumer habits need to change significantly," he told media.
Quebec’s Premier is not really on board with such plans.
“I know that Pierre has read a lot of environmental reports this summer," Francois Legault told media. "There are environmentalists proposing to halve the number of cars. Our approach is really to move toward electric cars."
The Premier noted that the government will be using an incentive-based approach to this shift rather than coercion.
CBC reports that there are six million passenger cars in Quebec, of which 170,000 are electric cars. Per the Canadian Automobile Association, which cites numbers from Natural Resources Canada, Quebec, together with Ontario, accounts for 55% of Canada’s total gasoline consumption.
The western provinces of the country consume 36% of the total, and the rest falls to the Atlantic provinces and Canada’s territories.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.