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Editorial: Island fuel price hikes continue to baffle

Demand certainly can’t be considered high during the pandemic to warrant big increases
A gas pump at a filling station. (Photo by Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The only logical thing about fuel prices is the lack of logic.

Two rounds of eight-cent per litre increases during January in many parts of Vancouver Island make absolutely no sense. and other experts always have a reason at the ready for a disbelieving public whenever prices jump dramatically. Maintenance at this or that refinery in Washington state, a storm in the Gulf Coast that affected oil rigs, whatever. It seems everything that happens in the world has some bearing on our gas prices.

The often-used argument that as the price of a barrel of oil jumps, so do gas prices and the increase in consumption leads to hikes has also proven false.

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In recent years, we have seen gas prices rising as oil prices were in decline. And with the pandemic on and fewer vehicles supposedly on the road from people working at home – although you wouldn’t know it from the daily traffic reports from Vancouver or even the volume of traffic on the Island Highway, for that matter – it can’t be said the demand for fuel is high now and the supply is low to warrant paying more at the pumps.

We all know taxes make up a large percentage of our fuel costs, but those rates do not fluctuate during the year to cause a price change. So what does?

B.C. residents pay high gas taxes, but so do folks in other provinces. And, yet, B.C. always has among the highest gas prices in the country.

Premier John Horgan promised to get to the bottom of it last year, but that’s obviously gone nowhere.

Prices seemed to stabilize for quite some time at $1.14 per litre and then, all of a sudden, we get two enormous jumps about two weeks apart.

At the very least, we deserve some honest answers. The explanations are all over the map, including pipelines not being built or twinned but that’s clearly not the issue, either.

The gas could go right through our backyards and we’d still be paying the highest prices in Canada. Of course, there’s always the argument put forward by so many that we need to get off our dependence on fossil fuels entirely as the only remedy.

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Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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