Sunday, February 25, 2024

Victoria residents turn to e-bikes, public transit amid record-breaking gas prices


As gas prices soar to unprecedented levels, it seems Greater Victoria residents are looking at other more cost-efficient ways to get around.

Mix that in with the recent sunshine and Victoria Electric Bikes co-founder Charles Turner finds sales are on the rise.

“It’s been busy,” Turner told Victoria Buzz.

“I mean, when you look at it, your average to drive 100 km is around $18 in gas, in that zone. On an electric bicycle, you’re at about 10 cents in hydro.”

BC’s capital is “amazingly biking friendly,” according to Turner. So much so, he calls it “the bike capital of Canada.”

Meanwhile, Michael Besler is on the same page.

The Ride The Glide E-Bikes Inc. co-founder notes more locals are opting for the bike pedal rather than the gas pedal.

“A lot of people are wanting to get out more, and a lot less are using their car,” Besler said.

“There are definitely some savings there. We have one fellow that works for us and that’s about all he does, ride scooters and e-bikes. He rarely ever drives.”

Canadian Automobile Association data for Thursday lists the average price at the pumps in Victoria at 208.9 cents per litre, up from last week’s average of 184.2.

That beats previous records, including one set on February 16th when prices soared to 179.9 cents per litre—a then “unprecedented” figure, according to Dan McTeague.

At the time, the Canadians for Affordable Energy president and gas price analyst said Victoria residents had never before seen that price for fuel.

But motorists were warned more jumps were likely, considering the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine. That’s because Russia is the world’s third-largest oil producer, making up 11% of the global share.

“Gasoline relies on the value of oil, and oil supply is limited. That’s not going to change anytime soon,” McTeague told Victoria Buzz.

BC Premier John Horgan has also touched on gas prices and warned that a “challenging summer” was ahead, especially with international supply chain disruptions in play.

Still, Horgan noted that the BC Utilities Commission is obliged to ask providers of petroleum products their pricing rationale.

He pointed to public transit as a solution for those who can’t afford to fill up their tank, noting buses “are options if prices become too unaffordable in the short-term.”

In a Thursday statement to Victoria Buzz, BC Transit says it has experienced a “noticeable increase” in ridership this week.

However, it says many factors can affect ridership numbers, including more people returning to work and regular activities, plus less hesitancy around COVID-19.

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