OPINION: About these Squamish gas prices

Every few months in Squamish, the cost of gas in town revs residents up.

This past week, The Chief received numerous calls, emails, office visits and messages noting the high cost of fuel here versus nearby communities.

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(Does it strike you as a wee bit contradictory that in a town where the majority of the population seems to want to keep fossil fuels in the ground, y’all want your gasoline cheaper rather than higher which would force people to switch to electric vehicles faster? I digress.)

It is annoying our price at the pump is routinely high.

On Monday, we had the third highest gas prices in Canada, according to GasBuddy.com.

But at a loss as to how to make this story “news” — it isn’t new and thus isn’t really a “news” story — I contacted GasBuddy’s senior petroleum analyst, Dan McTeague for some feedback.

He said that he expects a gas station to make about .12 cents a litre over what it costs them to operate.

After all, he said they have to pay for the fuel, which fluctuates, staff, electricity, municipal taxes and transportation up to the Sea to Sky.

In Squamish on Monday fuel was selling at 145.9 cents a litre at most stations in town — 144.9 at one station.

Thus, the stations were making about .16 cents a litre, according to McTeaque.

That’s the retail margin, McTeague said.

“I have no problem with gas stations making .8 to .12 cents a litre,” said.

“It takes that much to run a station.”

But, Squamish stations seem to be selling above that profit margin, he said.

McTeague said that were he a Squamish resident, he would take a simple tact.

First, arm yourself with knowledge, he said.

Go to the gas station company’s rack price online to figure out what they are paying for fuel wholesale (look at the line for Vancouver) and adjust for transportation, taxes, and profit from there.

Then vote with your car — consistently support  whichever station has the lowest price.

Take advantage of each gas station’s offers and reward programs — find out if there is a way to knock off a few pennies, he said.

If you can, buy where it is cheaper outside the community.

Ultimately, a vigorous competitor could come in to Squamish and offer discounted gas by making its profit from other items it sells — a big box retailer, for example — that may bite the other stations in the behind, he said.

So, no quick fix, Squamish drivers.

Unless you can afford an electric vehicle.

Then, problem solved.

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