BC Premier John Horgan is asking for an independent investigation to be conducted into the reasons why the province’s gas prices have skyrocketed over the past 2 months.
The Premier is calling on the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) — a “quasi-judicial body” that balances fair rates for customers with opportunity to earn a fair return for utility companies — to conduct the probe.
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“Across the province, but particularly in Metro Vancouver and on Vancouver Island, people are alarmed at the rapid increase in the price at the pumps,” reads a letter written by Horgan to the BCUC.
According to the Premier, the price difference between the cost of gas in Vancouver and Edmonton has increased by nearly 5x the historical average since 2015.
“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 expensive in Vancouver than in Edmonton — which reasonably reflected the cost of transporting refined products from Edmonton to Vancouver,” reads the letter.
“Starting about four years ago, however, this spread began to widen significantly, and over the past two months has exploded. So far in the month of May, the gap is almost 24 cents a litre.”
As of Wednesday, the average cost of gas in Victoria hovered around the $1.619/L mark. Vancouver prices are roughly $1.70/L and at one point was the highest priced major city in North America.
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Horgan goes on to say that taxes are not responsible for the spike in gas prices and that the carbon taxes are used for green initiatives throughout the province.
“Over the past three months, gasoline prices in some regions have increased by 40 cents while provincial taxes have risen by just 1 cent,” said Horgan.
The Premier concludes his letter with a note of confidence in the BCUC’s ability to conduct a meaningful and transparent investigation into the reasons behind the gas surge.
“British Columbians need to be working from a common understanding, based on evidence from an independent body,” reads Horgan’s letter.
“As a trusted and respected regulator, I ask that you facilitate a fair, transparent, and inclusive investigation so we all have the information required to seek solutions to the high and wildly fluctuating prices of gasoline.”
Here is Horgan’s full letter to the BCUC: