Squamish residents upset by the price of gas in town gathered near two stations in the Garibaldi Highlands Sunday morning to make their voices heard.
About 40 residents held signs for passing motorists on Highway 99.
The protestors argue that gas in Squamish is often more than Vancouver, though we don’t pay the 18.5 cents per litre TransLink tax.
Gas Buddy shows that on Sunday, gas in Squamish was 144.9 cents per litre, while in Vancouver it was 131.9 cents.
In Pemberton Sunday, it was 132.9.
Christopher Di Corrado was one of the locals out protesting.
“We wanted to get some publicity so that gas companies know that we aren’t happy about paying extra for no apparent reason,” Di Corrado told The Chief after the demonstration.
He said a lot of people driving by honked and others stopped to say that they didn’t know that gas is more expensive in Squamish.
Di Corrado said that if he could afford it, he would buy an electric car, but until they are more affordable, it isn’t fair that local fuel prices are higher than in communities to the north and south of town.
He also stressed that from what he heard in the group of demonstrators, the blame is not to be placed on the customers or the workers in the stations, who have no control over the prices at the pump. Instead, the anger is at the oil companies and perhaps owners of the stations who inflate the prices, he said.
“We share in the frustration of our citizens as gas prices are consistently higher in Squamish than the Lower Mainland, even though Squamish doesn’t contribute to a motor fuel tax,” Mayor Karen Elliott told The Chief Sunday.
“One way to send a message is for citizens to exercise their purchasing power to the degree they can, and push back on companies who are charging prices higher than what is being paid in the metro area. This is obviously a challenge for locals though, unless they travel to Vancouver regularly.”
Elliott added that municipalities, the Regional District and First Nations in the Sea to Sky have proposed a small motor fuel tax as a means to fund regional transit in the short term.
“As we believe it can easily be absorbed by gas retailers, and it is an equitable way to share the costs between all those who utilize the highway — both tourists and locals.”
Di Corrado said he wouldn’t mind paying more for gas if it was because of a tax that helped regional transit or the environment, but currently that isn’t the case, he said.
“There’s no benefit to these high prices in town,” he said. “I am not protesting the high prices. I am protesting being gouged unfairly, by artificially high prices.”
None of the owners of the local stations were available to comment for this story prior to press deadline.
**This story has been updated since it was first posted to include a quote from one of those demonstrating and to include that we could not get any of the gas owners on the record.