Gas gouge: Nanaimo-area fuel prices higher than most of Canada
Published Wednesday, January 20, 2016 4:06PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 20, 2016 7:08PM PST
Motorists should be fuming mad that Nanaimo gas stations are gouging customers as prices drop everywhere else on Vancouver Island, an oil and gas expert says.
At an average price of 106.2 cents per litre, the Nanaimo region is one of the costliest cities in the country for fuel, according to analyst website GasBuddy.com.
But unlike Vancouver and Victoria, where a transit tax is tacked on to gas prices, Nanaimo doesn’t pay additional tariffs on top of provincial and federal taxes.
The high prices can’t be blamed on problems with transporting fuel to the harbour city either, according to GasBuddy spokesman Dan McTeague.
“We know that there’s a terminal right there in Nanaimo, so it’s not like there’s a transportation issue,” said McTeague. “I don’t think they’re getting a fair price. I think there’s a lot of room for those prices to drop. They should be, at the minimum, where Victoria is.”
On Wednesday, most stations in Victoria advertised gas at 98.9 cents per litre, while the nearby Comox region is selling gas for about 92 cents per litre, on average.
McTeague said the price gouge can be likely be attributed to a lack of competition in Nanaimo.
Stations are buying gasoline for about 86 or 87 cents a litre with taxes factored in, and no gas bars in the city are willing to slash those high profit margins, he said.
“It’s a very competitive business on retail margins pretty much across the country,” he said. “Where there isn’t that competition, you can expect that to happen pretty darn soon.”
The higher prices in Nanaimo could tempt competitors to enter the market to start “shaving those retails margins down,” according to McTeague.
The city’s lack of a major player like Costco could also be a factor.
Wholesalers who aggressively go after gas markets can afford to sell fuel for little market Value, he said.
Meanwhile, motorists in the region have long bemoaned fuel costs, with many chiming in on a CTV News report on lower gas prices in Victoria on Tuesday.
“Maybe someone out there can explain why Nanaimo and Parksville still have higher prices at the pumps…WE ARE BEING GOUGED,” wrote Clarence Dykema.
“Someone should tell the Nanaimo gas bars to get with the program!” said Joe Beall.
Some of the highest gas prices in Canada are found just across the water in Metro Vancouver (106.9/litre) and the Sunshine Coast (107.9/litre), while the Northwest Territories (110.4/litre) listed the most expensive gas in the country, according to GasBuddy.
By comparison, most stations in Edmonton were selling gas for between 67.4 and 68.9 cents per litre Wednesday, the website said.
A GasBuddy.com heat map shows the higher price of gas in the Nanaimo region relative to the rest of Vancouver Island. Jan. 20, 2016. (GasBuddy.com)
An Esso gas station in Nanaimo, B.C. advertises gas for 105.9 cents per litre. Jan. 20, 2016. (CTV Vancouver Island)