Legislation meant to fuel transparency on how gas prices are set is good news for Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons.
The provincial government introduced Bill 42, The Fuel Price Transparency Act on Monday.
It looks to build a mandatory reporting framework for suppliers of gasoline and diesel in B.C.
That includes a reporting schedule on things like refined fuel imports and exports, volume, source, destination and mode of transport, refinery and terminal volumes, and wholesale and retail prices.
Oil and gas companies that don’t report the data would face fines or administrative penalties.
Pulling back the curtain on why our gas is so expensive could stand to benefit drivers in Powell River, where the price at the pump is consistently higher than the rest of the region.
Gas was selling at between $1.41 and $1.54 in stations across Powell River this morning.
Simons said British Columbians want answers.
“I think that what the public wants is an explanation as to why there is this unexplained 13 cents premium (per litre on B.C. gas),” he said. “I think the legislation is going to put the gas industry, essentially, on notice that we’re interested in seeing how they set their prices and it can’t just be done in secrecy, anymore.”
He also hopes the legislation will put downward pressure on gas prices.
“That’s what we all hope,” he said. “I don’t make promises I can’t keep but presumably, a little bit of sunlight on the secrecy can be a good disinfectant. We all hope oil companies will be able to respond favourably. I’m not going to hold my breath but I do think this is going to be an important step.”
He said it’s time B.C. drivers have an answer “as to why their gas prices, especially in some of the rural areas on the island and the coast, are so high.”
Simons said if the legislation is passed, it will receive royal assent next week.
“My hope is that it will have an impact. The sooner the better. And that’s what other people hope, too.”
Simons is hosting a town hall meeting on Powell River’s high gas prices next month.
It’s happening at the Evergreen Theatre on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 15.
From 1:30pm to 2:00pm there will be light refreshments and information for you to view.
The town hall is scheduled to start at 2:00pm and run until 3:30pm.