OPINION: Fed up with Squamish gas prices

Two-plus weeks ago, I filled up my diesel van for 126.9¢ a litre and started my long drive to Toronto. As I drove east, diesel prices dropped steadily until Manitoba. In Kamloops, diesel was 115.9¢ and in Banff a couple cents cheaper. Closer to Calgary, the price continued downward to 110.9¢ and near Regina, it dropped even more to 106.9¢. Prices increased again in Brandon Manitoba to 118.9¢ per litre.

In Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, diesel prices approached 122.9¢ and in Toronto over the past two weeks diesel has been anywhere from 108.9 to 121.9¢. The difference between what I would theoretically spend on diesel for the best versus the worst price is about $110 for the 4,500-kilometre journey from Squamish to Toronto. An average gas vehicle would likely be over $200 and a gas-guzzling SUV or truck even more.

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According to Gas Buddy, on the day of writing this column, Aug. 4, regular gas in Toronto is as low as 114.9¢ per litre. In Thunder Bay 122.7¢, Brandon 115.9¢, Regina 103.9¢, Calgary 99.9¢, Banff 104.9¢,  Kamloops 121.4¢, Vancouver 130.9¢, and Squamish — wait for it — a whopping 144.9¢ per litre.

The discrepancy in gas prices between provinces and regions is due to a variety of factors including proximity to refineries and provincial carbon taxes. For example, in B.C., the carbon tax is 12.5¢ per litre at the pump, whereas Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick have federally imposed carbon pricing of about 4.4¢. Like most of us, I am concerned with the climate crisis, and don’t begrudge paying the carbon tax in B.C. as it is proven to significantly reduce the amount of CO2 we produce. Other factors on local gas pricing are transit taxes like Metro Vancouver’s 18.5¢ Translink tax, and the 7.75¢ per litre Provincial Motor Fuel Tax that applies to all other areas of B.C. I would happily pay an augmented local transit motor fuel tax on a litre of gas if it helps fund public transit.

But when the price of gas in Squamish exceeds Metro Vancouver by 14¢ in some cases and is a whopping 45¢ more expensive than Calgary and 30¢ more than Toronto, then it simply comes down to corporate greed bilking the travellers and residents of the Sea to Sky Corridor.

Shame on Chevron, Husky, Petro-Canada and Shell in Squamish. You have for far too long bilked our community unfairly. Perhaps it is time for a CO-OP gas station to come to Squamish to price gas fairly. Or will it take our citizens writing letters en mass to your corporate bosses or Competition Bureau Canada? Or perhaps we should all stop buying gas at our local gas stations, even for a day or a week, to make a collective point?

What’s it going to take? Any ideas?

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