With the price of a litre of gasoline having climbed past $1.70 in some areas of British Columbia, just about everybody has had it with record prices at the pump. The premier is no exception, as he made clear today (May 7).
“The margins here are greater than they are in any other jurisdiction,” John Horgan said at a press conference this afternoon. “The federal government has a consumer protection agency that should be looking at that. I will raise it with the prime minister the next time I have the opportunity.”
Horgan announced he has sent letter to the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) requesting that the regulatory agency investigate why exactly it is that gas prices in B.C. are so much higher than in most other areas of the country.
“What British Columbians do not understand and cannot accept is a situation where the price of gasoline, correcting for differences in tax rates, gets increasingly out of line with the prices in the rest of Canada," the letter reads.
“The wholesale price of gasoline, which does not have fuel taxes, retail sales and carbon taxes added to it, had historically been 2.5-4 cents a litre more expansive in Vancouver than in Edmonton – which reasonably reflected the cost of transporting refined products from Edmonton to Vancouver,” it continues. “Starting about four years ago, however, this spread began to widen significantly, and over the past two months has exploded. So far this month, the gap is almost 24 cents a litre.”
Horgan maintains that neither B.C.’s carbon tax nor other provincial taxes can possibly account for the difference.
“British Columbians want to know why refining margins are so much higher than in other parts of the country,” the letter adds.
With a provincial election on the horizon, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson has been working hard to make an issue of gas prices and pin the problem on the NDP.
“Blame John Horgan,” reads a message that began appearing on billboards throughout the Lower Mainland last week.