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Canadians will have to get used to paying higher prices at the pumps, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday.

Answering questions from reporters, Mr. Harper would only commit to lowering the GST by 1 per cent in the coming federal budget as a remedy to help offset rising gasoline prices.

At one time, the Conservatives had said they would stop charging GST on the portion of gas prices above 85 cents.

However, Mr. Harper said Wednesday that promise was "two elections ago" and had given way to the planned broader GST reduction.

"In our last election, our commitment was to lower the GST on all products and all services," he said.

"That's what we intend to do."

Since last week, the average retail price of regular gasoline in Canada has risen 3.8 per cent, climbing to $1.07.

Mr. Harper admitted Wednesday that the GST cut would only make a "marginal difference" when it comes to how much Canadians pay for gasoline. He also said higher prices are likely here to stay for at least the immediate future.

"That's going to be something that we're going to have to get used to," he said.

"Worldwide, long run, the demand for energy products is outstripping the supply, and I think we're going to see sustained upward pressure on prices for some time to come.

"This is something we're all going to have to adapt to and it's one of the reasons why when we deal with climate change and other issues we're going to want to encourage the development of alternative energy sources."