Gas Prices in BC. IT’S ECONOMICS 101

Gas Prices in BC. IT’S ECONOMICS 101

November 14, 2019
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Greed is good. In the words of the character Gordon Gekko (Wall Street and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” 

The recent report to the BC Utility Commission’s inquiry into gas and diesel prices in the region said media commentary blaming price spikes on “chronic shortages” or lack of pipeline capacity appears “designed to serve the price gouging behaviour of suppliers rather than shed light on actual market factors and conditions.”

In English, we are being ripped off by gas stations. In Whistler more than Metro Vancouver. Demand here is high, so the market pushes the price to what it will bear. Economics 101.

The report found “that an absence of competition among refined product suppliers has caused the market to fail. Price is not a function of cost plus a reasonable return on investment as should exist in a functioning market. Price is a function of what the market can bear. This is price gouging.”

Here is a link: www.bcuc.com/Documents/Proceedings/2019/DOC_54384_C1-2-Allan-Eliesen-Submitting-Report.pdf

I have an app called Gas Buddy and have been monitoring prices in the Sea to Sky corridor for a few weeks now.  Mid-June had all of the Whistler stations selling regular gas at $1.49.9 per litre while the stations in Pemberton were selling at $1.30 per litre.

Today (Tuesday, July 10), the Whistler stations are selling regular gas at $1.45.9 while the stations in Pemberton are selling at $1.28. Squamish is also at $1.45.9. Oh … and North Vancouver Chevrons are selling at $1.42.9, remembering that Metro Vancouver petroleum buyers pay the transit tax that we don’t. Someone once told me we pay more because the gas shipping costs are higher. Right…that explains why even Lillooet has cheaper gas than Whistler.

I once complained to a gas station owner about the pricing, and her answer was, “buy your own gas station.” 

I just might.

Patrick Smyth // Whistler