Gas prices in Ladysmith spiked over night on Friday, rising to 151.9 at most stations in Town, and as high as 152.9.
Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, Bruce Ralston said in a statement that the government is keeping a close watch on price spikes.
“I know it infuriates drivers to see gas prices spiking randomly while the price of oil stays flat, or even goes down. That’s why we commissioned the BC Utilities Commission to investigate.”
The BCUC launched an inquiry in to gas prices in May 2019. The final report was presented in August, and the BCUC will present a supplementary report to the B.C. government in November.
The inquiry found an unexplained 13-cent premium that British Columbians pay at the pump in comparison to the rest of Canada, and Washington sate. This price differential dates back to 2015. There were no differences found in the price of diesel.
A main cause of the price differential is tied to petroleum wholesalers. In the BCUC’s Executive Summary, they say five refiner marketers: Parkland, Suncor, Imperial Oil, Shell, and Husky have the ability to influence retail price. It goes on to say that with refineries running at close to capacity, there is little incentive to reduce prices. The report found no evidence of collusion between gas retailers, and said that the fluctuating price is consistent with a competitive market.
Ralston said the government is working to address the price gap, and will await the BCUC’s supplemental report before considering any response on the price of gas in B.C.