Province targets Port Alberni, other regions for greater gas price transparency
A car is fuelled up at a gas station in Vancouver, Wednesday, July 17, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jonathan Hayward)
VICTORIA -- The B.C. government is expanding its investigation into gasoline pricing in the province by targeting four specific communities for increased fuel price transparency.
Last year, the province introduced its new Fuel Price Transparency Act after an investigation by the BC Utilities Commission found British Columbians were paying an unexplained premium on fuel compared to other regions.
B.C. Energy Minister Bruce Ralston says the commission will now collect and publish fuel price data for four municipalities, namely Port Alberni, Powell River, Revelstoke and Squamish.
"While our government has taken strong action to get to the bottom of unexplained high gasoline prices, British Columbians in some communities are still paying significantly more compared to neighbouring regions," Ralston said in a statement Monday.
"I'm pleased to see the BCUC is looking into why people in Powell River, Revelstoke, Port Alberni and Squamish are paying more for gasoline, in response to public feedback from these communities."
The site-specific data will be published on the province's new fuel price transparency website GasPricesBC.ca.
The website was launched earlier this year after a utilities commission inquiry found that the high price of fuel in B.C. was not entirely attributable to normal market forces.
Following the inquiry, the province announced it would force oil and gas companies to regularly reveal data on how gasoline prices are set in B.C.
"For years, British Columbians have felt they are getting gouged when they fill up at the pump. That's why our government asked the BCUC to do an investigation into gasoline prices," the energy minister said.
"The inquiry found a lack of competition and substantial markups in British Columbia's gasoline market, including a 10 to 13 cent per-litre premium being charged to drivers that industry was unable to explain. This unexplained premium results in British Columbians paying an extra $490 million every year."