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Canada ‘Stop gouging us’: As B.C. gas prices drop, why are coastal communities still paying more?

07:15  11 november  2019
07:15  11 november  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

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We have seen a $.62 drop at the pump over the last week or so. So why the big reduction now. Is it a coincidence that this big drop in gas prices comes They finally decided that they might stop bilking us so much , and bring the ACTUAL price of gasoline at the pumps back down to reflect what THEY

a sign on the side of a building: On the left, a gas price seen in Vancouver on Nov. 9, 2019. On the right, a price in Powell River on Nov. 10, 2019.© Vancouver: Global News/Powell River: Lisa Galligos On the left, a gas price seen in Vancouver on Nov. 9, 2019. On the right, a price in Powell River on Nov. 10, 2019.

While gas prices have fallen to relatively normal levels in Metro Vancouver, communities along B.C.'s Sunshine Coast say they're getting gouged at the pump.

On Sunday, dozens of protesters in Squamish marched to a local gas station where prices have hovered consistently between $1.45 and $1.50 per litre.

"We think, basically, we're being cheated," Christopher DiCorrado said. "We think we may be paying a tourist tax or something like that, because the gas prices in Squamish are almost always more expensive than Vancouver."

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Now gas is at 95 bucks a barrel but prices at the pump arent going down. 1 following. Price fixing, gouging customers at the pump, and market manipulation has all contributed to the rise in In fact, even if we implement more domestic oil exploration and drilling, expect to see prices continue to go

Gas prices will drop when supply increases. There are a lot of ways that could happen. OPEC could decide to release more oil. The most immediate thing we can do is reduce our usage of gas by driving less or increasing fuel efficiency. The best way to increase fuel efficiency is to keep tires inflated.

Patricia Carlin, who led the protest group, was even more blunt.

"We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore," she said. "We're really fed up with hearing from friends and family, commuters in Vancouver, that they're paying way less for gas than we are. It's ridiculous.

"I want (the oil and gas companies) to smarten up and stop gouging us."

READ MORE: ‘Historic’ drop in price expected at Metro Vancouver gas pumps Thursday

While Whistler was seeing similar prices to Squamish on Sunday, other nearby towns like Pemberton were seeing prices more than 10 cents lower a litre.

In Powell River, it's even worse. For months, residents say prices have stayed consistently above $1.50 per litre.

On Sunday, pictures taken by drivers showed prices between $159.9 and $161.9 per litre. One business, City Motors Ltd. — which was closed Sunday — had a posted price of $172.9 per litre for regular.

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Despite earlier forecasts anticipating steadily rising gas prices well past Memorial Day, prices at the Are you noticing a trend here? But even as fuel costs drop , drivers in certain situations are paying far more Over Entire states still have gas prices averaging over per gallon—Alaska, California

The storm also dropped as much as ten inches of rain. In some counties, nearly every building was And now we are back to where I started: the citizens, the prospective buyers being denied a chance Even the supporters of price - gouging laws want low prices and large supplies. But they can’t get

Claudio Della Maestra, a lifelong resident of Powell River, said he and others are routinely hopping ferries to Comox on nearby Vancouver Island, where gas is sitting around $1.35 per litre.

"I go there at least once or twice a month, so I try not to buy here at all," he said. "But for people who can't afford to go on a ferry, they're stuck with the price that's here."

Della Maestra said many requests for an explanation from gas station owners and the companies themselves, like Chevron, have gone unanswered.

READ MORE: B.C. government considering legislation to force transparency from oil and gas companies

Another longtime resident, Tom Baker, said the lack of answers is the most frustrating part.

"Nobody seems to be telling us why (the prices are so high)," he said. "They say it's because we're isolated. But someone should just tell us why, and I'd like to see what our politicians have to say about it."

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How much do high gas prices have to do with taxes? Plenty, relative to other cities — but that’s not the only When will gas prices drop again? Prices could take months to come down, if history is any “If batteries and other electric vehicles come in faster, then we may not see huge increases in gas

Prices down elsewhere

In Metro Vancouver, prices took a 15-cent-per-litre dip between Thursday and Friday before settling around $1.30 on average. On Sunday, some stations reported prices as low as $1.24.

Petroleum analyst Dan McTeague said Wednesday the drop was due to prices normalizing after a supply crunch in October. McTeague did not return numerous requests for comment on the Sunshine Coast prices this weekend.

Vancouver saw record-high gas prices around $1.70 per litre through most of the spring, with an all-time high of $1.78.9 per litre in April. Other parts of B.C. saw similarly high prices in the spring and summer.

A public inquiry launched by the provincial government in response to the sky-high prices ultimately found no evidence of price gouging or collusion among oil companies but did find an "unexplained" 13-cent difference in Metro Vancouver prices compared to the rest of B.C.

The inquiry did not look at the impact of various provincial taxes that add to the price of gasoline, including the B.C.-wide carbon tax and the TransLink motor fuel tax that's only applied to Metro Vancouver.

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Why we pay more . The factors that make gasoline prices move are determined by global markets. As bit players in oil’s great game, gas -station owners Gas retailers sail through these stormy waters by generally raising pump prices slowly and dropping them slowly as well. The typical lag between a

The United States has announced plans to open much of the country’s coastal waters to oil and gas drilling. The Interior Department released the In a statement, Zinke said, “I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver.”

Protesters in Squamish pointed out the town does not have similar transit taxes to justify the high prices there.

READ MORE: B.C. gas price inquiry: No collusion, but unexplained price difference costing $490M per year

"We don't have any public transit that takes us to Vancouver or takes us to Whistler," DiCorrado said. "So we're not sure what's going on."

Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston has suggested he may be drafting legislation that would force oil companies to disclose confidential supply and pricing data, but critics have said it would do little to drive prices down in the province.

The ministry did not return a request for comment Sunday.

'Market bear'

Powell River Mayor Dave Formosa — who also owns Top Of The Hill Grocery & Gas Bar, where prices were sitting at the lowest in the city at $1.56 per litre Sunday — said he's made his own inquiries to why gas prices are so high.

"Basically the answer I got from the oil companies was 'market bear,'" he said. "It means they can get away with it, whatever the market will bear. There's no competition, really.

"When you're isolated like we are, the only way in is by aircraft or by ferry ... and they basically can get together, which I'm sure they do, the oil companies, and they keep the prices of these isolated communities high."

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Anti- price gouging laws may protect consumers from higher prices in times when natural disasters or other market disruptions cause a shortage of some good or service, but they also Laws against price gouging are really anti-consumer political theater. They look good on television, but gum up the work

So they got us use to paying more for gasoline and a slight decrease and we think that it is a bonus for us . And that we are getting screwed and it needs to be stopped . Ever hear of gouging , gouging ,and more gouging ! Has nothing to do with "supply and demand" garbage that the

READ MORE: Should B.C. regulate the price of gas? Economist says it’s the antidote to oil industry ‘gouging’

The mayor confirmed fuel is transported to Powell River by barge from Vancouver, but those transport costs alone aren't enough to justify the price gap with Metro Vancouver.

Formosa said he's tried to drop his prices to force the larger companies operating in town to do the same, but it hasn't worked. Because he's at the top of Wildwood Hill — more than 10 minutes north of City Hall — it's still easier for drivers to fill up elsewhere.

"It's frustrating that we're being held ransom," he said. "It's not just now, it's always been like this."

Requests for comment from Chevron, Petro Canada and other companies went unanswered Sunday.

Formosa's comments don't help explain Squamish's predicament. Until prices start to go down, protesters said they plan to continue putting pressure on the oil companies and the government.

"Maybe if more people speak out about it or are aware of it, maybe someone can come forward with an explanation," Suzanne Clarke said. "If you don't understand the problem, then you can't solve the problem."

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