An extra two cents from every litre of gas sold is now going to TransLink. The increase in the regional gas tax to 17 cents a litre is to cover the region's contribution to building the Evergreen Line.

An extra two cents from every litre of gas sold is now going to TransLink. The increase in the regional gas tax to 17 cents a litre is to cover the region's contribution to building the Evergreen Line.

Two more cents tax add to pump pain

Metro Vancouver prices not far from all-time highs

Metro Vancouver motorists are now paying an extra two cents per litre to TransLink every time they fill up.

The TransLink tax increase from 15 to 17 cents a litre took effect April 1 and prices immediately ticked up.

The hike will generate $40 million a year and is dedicated to covering TransLink’s $400-million capital contribution to the $1.4-billion Evergreen SkyTrain line to Port Moody and Coquitlam.

According to the price-tracking website gasbuddy.com, Metro Vancouver prices were averaging $1.437 per litre by Monday, up more than a cent from Friday.

But prices have moved much more due to other factors in recent weeks.

Prices have climbed sharply since early February, when Metro Vancouver drivers were paying an average of $1.25 per litre, reaching a recent high of $1.44 on March 28 before easing late last week to about $1.425.

Gasbuddy co-founder Dustin Coupal said the tax increase appears to cement Vancouver’s status as having the highest gas prices in Canada, slightly above some east coast cities.

Coupal doesn’t expect any relief for motorists this spring.

Many refineries are either undergoing maintenance shutdowns or switching from winter to summer gas blends, he said, so there’s less supply right now and more potential for prices to shoot higher yet due to market forces.

On top of that, gas prices normally rise in spring as more drivers take to the road.

“We’re heading into a high gas price season with high prices to start with,” Coupal said. “So it’s likely prices are going higher yet.”

Prices in this region were also driven higher after a fire in February knocked a refinery out of service at Cherry Point in Washington State service. It’s expected to resume operations this month.

Pump prices don’t have far to go to hit all-time record territory.

Metro Vancouver drivers briefly paid $1.50 a litre in the summer of 2008 when crude oil prices spiked.

Vancouver Historical Gas Price Charts Provided by GasBuddy.com