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VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C. – With gas prices hitting an all-time high in Metro Vancouver, drivers across northeast Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast are also feeling the pinch.
GasBuddy energy analyst Dan McTeague said in a release that gas prices are in the midst of their seasonal surge, as the switch over begins from winter to more expensive summer fuel.
The average price of gas has already jumped more than 20 cents per litre since January but McTeague warns that the bumpy road will be getting worse.
April 1 marked the first day of Ottawa’s carbon tax fee on gasoline, diesel and heating fuels in Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Meanwhile, B.C. added one cent to its current carbon tax for a total carbon levy of over nine cents per litre, and Metro Vancouver now has the dubious distinction of having the highest gas prices (and gas taxes) in North America.
“It won’t be a summer to remember at the pump thanks to myriad tax increases that will cost Canadians more every fill-up,” McTeague added in the release.
In addition to rising carbon taxes, factors pushing up gasoline prices so far this year include a 35 percent spike in the price of oil since Christmas and a weaker loonie in comparison to the U.S. dollar, according to GasBuddy.
Across northeast Vancouver Island and parts of the Sunshine Coast, gas prices are 15 to 20 cents cheaper than in Metro Vancouver.
McTeague explains why the price at the pump isn’t as painful on the North Island: “First of all, you don’t have as great a tax. You don’t have to pay for a TransLink tax which is 17 cents plus GST. Your taxes right from the get-go are about 12 cents cheaper.”
He added that, “bare bones, stripped down to everything, most gas stations have to buy their fuel for about $1.39, $1.40 per litre today, on the Island. Victoria’s (gas is) higher for obvious reasons, it has the transit tax attached to it so they’re about six cents higher than outside of the area serviced by the Victoria Regional Transit Service.”
McTeague forecasts that gas prices are likely to continue rising before peaking in early summer.
Here is a breakdown of the cheapest gas prices along the North Island:
Comox – $1.49 per litre at four locations: the Co-op at 699 Aspen Rd & Guthrie Rd; the Chevron at 701 Anderton Rd & Guthrie Rd; the Husky at 648 Anderton Rd & Guthrie Rd; and the Shell at 2052 Comox Ave. & Gladstone St.
Courtenay – $1.39 per litre at the Costco at 588 Crown Isle Boulevard and Ryan Road; and $1.42 at the Petro Canada at 2295 Cliffe Ave. near Mansfield St. and the Husky at 2350 Cliffe Ave. & Mansfield Ave.
Campbell River – $1.42 per litre at six locations. Click here to find out where.
Powell River – $1.53 per litre at four locations: the Petro Canada at 4441 Joyce Ave. & Duncan St.; Chevron at 4640 Joyce Ave. & Barnet St.; the Shell at 4799 Joyce Ave. & Alberni St.; and Vanderkemp Sales And Services at 7408 BC-101 near Masters Rd.
Port Hardy – $1.54 per litre at the Chevron at 114 Grandville St. & Rupert St.; and the Esso at 8945 Granville St., near BC-19A.
According to GasBuddy, the cheapest gas in B.C. can be found in Smithers, where the Petro Canada there is listed at $121.9 per litre.
The most expensive gas in the province is in Coquitlam, where the price at the pump at some stations were a whopping $1.67 per litre today.
Pacific coast impacted
According to McTeague, the gas hike started when two the Pacific Northwest’s “big four refineries” in the U.S. had to go through maintenance.
“In other words they are moving through a period of time up to the about the middle of the month where they are going to see some units shut down for a short period of time,” McTeague said.
“That’s caused a net jump since the beginning of March of almost 75 cents a gallon which works out to about 27 cents a litre.”
And with most if not all of Vancouver Island’s gas coming directly from the U.S. and barged over and distributed across the island, the troubles of refineries across the Pacific Northwest is impacting prices locally.
McTeague said it isn’t inconceivable to see gas prices jump another four to five cents before they drop around the third week of April.