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Gas prices have 44% of Canadians struggling to afford basics, survey finds

Rising gasoline prices have more than one-in-four Canadians worried about affording necessities as their wallets start to run on empty, according to a new survey.

The Angus Reid Institute polled a random sample of nearly 2,000 people over four days in early May. The findings suggest pain at the pumps has made it harder for 44 per cent of Canadians to afford household basics. That figure jumps to 86 per cent among those struggling to afford gas.

Thirty-five per cent of drivers who said they have been impacted by pricer fuel reported paring back daily driving, 26 per cent said they are putting less in their tank.

Price pressure was found to be most acute in Metro Vancouver, where gasoline prices are often the highest in North America. The crowdsourced website GasBuddy.com recently found a station in Delta, B.C. selling regular fuel for just shy of $1.79 per litre. More than seven-in-ten in that province said they adjusted their habits to cope.

Canadians are split on where to focus frustration over rising prices, with 43 per cent citing government taxes, 39 per cent blaming oil companies, and 18 per cent chalking it up to “economic market forces.”

Resentment towards oil companies was driven largely by Quebec (55 per cent), with B.C. the only other province to blame the energy industry over the government.

Ire for taxes was found to be strongest in provinces that have mounted legal challenges against Ottawa’s federal carbon tax, such as Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. While that sentiment was also found to be strong in Alberta, respondents in that province cited “economic market forces” more often than any other region.

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