Today, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) issued its Final Report with responses to questions posed by the Provincial Government and its key findings from its Inquiry into Gasoline and Diesel Prices in BC.
The BCUC established an independent, transparent and public inquiry process where the Panel considered evidence filed by 11 registered interveners including all major companies that have refining and retail business in BC. The BCUC also received more than 70 letters of comment from members of the public and interested parties as well as three reports prepared by two independent consultants. The process also included four days of Oral Workshops for the Panel to ask Interveners questions, and for Interveners to ask questions on the independent reports. The BCUC carefully considered this information before making its key findings below.
Following the comprehensive inquiry process, some of the Panel’s key findings include the following:
- There is a significant unexplained difference of approximately 13 cents per litre in wholesale gasoline prices between Southern BC and its Pacific Northwest cost comparator;
- The wholesale market for gasoline in BC is not truly competitive with high market concentration levels, high barriers to entry, and their ability to influence prices. Retail market prices can also be controlled by five refiner-marketers;
- There is no evidence to suggest that there is collusion among the retail operators nor is there evidence of cartel behaviour; and
- Regulation could potentially reduce the wholesale and/or retail margins to what is earned in comparable jurisdictions and reduce price volatility. However, further investigation should be done to determine if such an approach would be of benefit to British Columbian consumers.
The Panel has recommended a one-month comment period on the Report to provide the Inquiry’s participants with an opportunity to submit additional evidence relevant to questions posed by the BC Government.
To review the Panel’s detailed findings, please refer to the Executive Summary or Final Report posted to the Inquiry’s proceeding page on the BCUC website.
A final copy of the report has been provided to the Honourable Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology.
According to the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation, this report is inconclusive as it does not include an examination of the taxes levied on prices at the pumps.
Taxpayers: B.C. Gas Price Report pointless because it ignores taxes
- CTF delivers hundreds of mirrors to Premier John Horgan
- B.C. drivers pay highest gas prices in North America
VICTORIA, B.C.: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation delivered hundreds of mirrors to Premier John Horgan the day before he releases a report detailing the province’s so-called investigation into high gas prices.
“It’s silly that the premier called this investigation into high gas prices in B.C. while refusing to consider the high taxes and the actions of the government – the premier should look in the mirror if he wants to find the reason for high B.C. gas prices,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation while wearing a costume similar to the Evil Queen from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale Snow White. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who can make the gas price fall?”
Horgan first launched the investigation into the high cost of gasoline in B.C. while increasing the carbon tax and fighting the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries gasoline products. As a result, many in western Canada found the investigation amusing, including former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall who advised Horgan to “purchase a mirror.”
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation launched a campaign inviting supporters to send Horgan mirrors. The response was huge with supporters sending 504 mirrors to the B.C. legislature.
“It’s disingenuous of politicians to claim to care about the burden of high gasoline prices while they are jacking up the taxes on gasoline and picking fights with provinces that send us gasoline – they want gasoline to be unaffordable and they need to be held accountable,” said Sims. “This summertime investigation was a waste of time and money because it doesn’t take into account the role of government and tax rates, so, why did they bother doing this?”
To sign the petition to lower the taxes on gasoline click HERE.
Government Issued Statement
Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, has issued the following statement on the BC Utilities Commission’s investigation into gas prices:
“People feel like they’re being ripped off when they fill up at the gas station. And they’re right.
“Today, the BC Utilities Commission found that the wholesale gasoline market is not truly competitive, which results in unexplained higher gas prices for consumers, and potentially higher profits for oil and gas companies.
“This means that British Columbians pay $490 million a year more than they otherwise would.
“I want to thank the BC Utilities Commission and the experts who participated in this investigation for their hard work and professional conduct.
“Our government is concerned with the allocation of refined gasoline flowing into B.C., as well as the lack of transparency around how the price of gas is set.
“We are committed to bringing fairness and transparency to B.C.”