B.C. drivers get little clarity on high gas prices after inquiry
VANCOUVER -- An inquiry into British Columbia's high gas prices has found an "unexplained" difference of 13 cents per litre between Metro Vancouver and Seattle.
Prices in southern B.C. are set according to prices in the Pacific Northwest of the United States because it is a nearby region and a similar price is considered justifiable.
However, the inquiry by the B.C. Utilities Commission found that even after accounting for transportation costs and higher B.C. fuel standards, Metro Vancouver drivers were still paying 13 cents more than those in Washington.
Commission CEO David Morton says there is no evidence to suggest there is collusion among retail operators nor is their evidence of cartel behaviour, but prices can be controlled by five refiner-marketers.
He says the wholesale market for gasoline in B.C. is not truly competitive because of high market concentration levels, high barriers to entry and their ability to influence prices.
The inquiry concluded that regulation could potentially reduce the wholesale or retail margins to what is justifiable in comparable jurisdictions and reduce price volatility, but further investigation.