In response to letters received from constituents frustrated with gas prices, Rachel Blaney has appealed to Navdeep Bains — Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development — to create a petroleum monitoring agency. The independent body would oversee gas prices and report directly to Parliament to address questions of potential gouging.
“This is something that I think needs to happen, because so many people are often confused, and don’t know why gas prices are going up or down,” the North Island-Powell River MP said Thursday during a media teleconference.
In a June 3 letter to Bains, Blaney points out that B.C. gas prices had, over a 24-hour time frame, fluctuated from $145.9 to $170.9 per litre. Since 1999, she said gas consumers have been over-charged an average of $20 million per year, while the federal government provides multi-billion-dollar tax incentives, grants and subsidies to the oil and gas industry.
She realizes commuters who live in remote communities can expect to pay a bit more at the pump.
“But the difference in how much we’re paying is ridiculous,” Blaney said. “It’s a big concern, especially for rural, remote communities where we don’t have access to transit the same way, where it’s harder to move from one community to another.”
According to Gas Buddy, the lowest gas price in B.C. was 122.9 at a station in Prince George, as of Thursday. In Courtenay, Costco was the lowest at 147.9. In Comox, the price at several stations was listed at 152.9 — as it was at the Esso in Cumberland.