Gasoline prices are setting new records in Metro Vancouver. (Black Press Media)

Gasoline prices are setting new records in Metro Vancouver. (Black Press Media)

John Horgan says spike in gasoline prices is profit-taking, not taxes

Premier denies Trans Mountain expansion would deliver more fuel

B.C. Premier John Horgan says his government is “monitoring” the soaring price of gasoline, after the “summer driving season” began months early with a big jump in gasoline prices around the province.

B.C.’s April 1 carbon tax increase accounts for only a penny of additional tax on gasoline, Horgan told reporters at his weekly news conference Thursday, describing the latest record gasoline price as profit-taking by petroleum companies.

“I look at the commodity price, it’s still pretty low for a barrel of crude oil, but yet if you go to the pump, you see these unreasonable costs,” Horgan said. “It’s not about governments gouging, it’s about gas companies gouging.”

Horgan also rejected a suggestion that his government’s court fight to stop the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline from the Edmonton area is pushing up gasoline and diesel prices. The original pipeline has alternated sending refined fuels and crude oil since it began operations in the mid-1950s, and B.C.’s Lower Mainland is also supplied with refined fuel by Washington state refineries, which take the majority of Trans Mountain’s crude volume.

“The challenge is we don’t have enough supply in the marketplace,” Horgan said. “And instead of purchasing a pipeline, as the federal government did, perhaps if they wanted to get into the oil business, they should have gone into refining.”

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver gasoline price hits all-time high

READ MORE: Want cheap gasoline? Smithers is lowest in B.C.

Prices have pushed past $1.60 per litre in Metro Vancouver, where the dedicated tax to fund TransLink buses and SkyTrain is up to 17 cents per litre on gasoline and diesel. In Greater Victoria, the transit tax is currently 5.5 cents per litre. An additional tax to fund the B.C. Transportation Financing Authority for transit in the rest of the province applies province-wide at 6.75 cents per litre.

After this week’s increase, carbon tax adds 8.89 cents to a litre of gasoline and 10.23 cents to a litre of diesel, which contains more carbon.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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