Residents in Chilliwack are running on empty when it comes to understanding why our gas prices are so high.
“I would like to know why gas in Chilliwack is so much more expensive than it is everywhere else,” asked Will Morton in an email sent to Shell Canada this week. “The only place it is more expensive is Metro Vancouver. Even Hope’s gas is cheaper.”
“I can’t figure out why we’re paying so much,” Bruce Holland told The Progress earlier this year when he complained of the same issues.
Gas prices are determined by a variety of factors, and the three factors that impact the cost the most are the cost of crude oil, the wholesale price of gasoline, and retail competition, with a mix of taxes and retailer costs thrown in to round out the amount on the pump.
However, with the proximity of communities within the Fraser Valley, many believe the prices should be fairly static across the region, yet they’re finding it’s anything but, so they’re travelling elsewhere for their gasoline.
“Why (do) we as consumers will pay $1.49 or so a litre, seemingly without protest,” asked Stephen Head. “I picked up some (fuel) in Abbotsford yesterday for $1.37.9, (and) saw a station in Harrison Mills at $131.9 (before coming) back to Chilliwack and it is $1.49.8.”
But through online resources such as www.GasBuddy.com, consumers are able to easily keep track of fuel prices across the region and can’t quite figure out why Metro Vancouver, with it’s $0.17/litre transit tax, is able to sell fuel for substantially less than Chilliwack, which has no such levy.
“How is it that gas prices in Vancouver are upwards of 15 cents cheaper per litre than here in Chilliwack … on top of the extra charges in Metro Vancouver?” asked Graeme Stevens. “This is getting out of hand.”
“While every single gas station in Chilliwack … are at the same price of 149.4 , Abbotsford is 131.9 to 134.9, and Metro Vancouver is anywhere between 144.9 to 156.9,” said Morton. I can only assume “the prices in Chilliwack are highly inflated and we’re getting gouged.”
Although at least Shell disagrees: “Please be advised that most of the stations owned by dealers set their own gas prices,” explained a Shell customer operations specialist in an email reply to Morton.
“It is difficult then to have a same price for all of the Shell stations (but) rest assured it is something we take seriously and we are working with all those stations to find a solution.”
And in an attempt to provide consumer clarity, Petro-Canada’s website explains how gasoline, which is sold at the same base price per litre in each province, but has regional, provincial, and federal taxes added afterwards, often varies in price from one location to another.
Yet, it’s often the retail location that decides on the final pump price, and with almost a 100 different fuel brands on the market, and nearly 70 different retailers, it’s easy to see why sites like GasBuddy.com has become such a necessary aspect of purchasing fuel.