Government continues to act on gas price transparency

Prices for the three grades of gasoline light up the pump at a Shell station Friday, May 25, 018, in southeast Denver. Memorial Day vacationers are facing the highest prices at the pumps since 2014 as the average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded is just under $3 but at almost $3.50 a gallon, for super unleaded. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
B.C. drivers can look forward to more transparency and greater accountability when it comes to gasoline and diesel fuel prices.

B.C. drivers can look forward to more transparency and greater accountability when it comes to gasoline and diesel fuel prices.

The Province has brought in new mandatory reporting requirements for the wholesale market using the Fuel Price Transparency Act (FPTA) that was passed in fall 2019.

“For years, British Columbians have felt like they are getting gouged when they fill up at the pump. That’s why our government asked our independent energy watchdog to do an investigation into gas prices,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “The British Columbia Utilities Commission’s (BCUC) inquiry found a lack of competition and significant markups in the B.C. market, including a 13 cent per-litre premium being charged to drivers that industry was unable to explain. This results in British Columbians paying an extra $490 million per year.”

The new regulations target the wholesale market. Companies that import, purchase, store and distribute gasoline and diesel products intended for sale at retail stations will need to make regular reports starting for the month of October to the BCUC. This includes detailed information on fuel imports, storage capacity, bulk sales and wholesale prices.

“With the new rules we are bringing in today, oil and gas companies in the wholesale market will have to start making regular, mandatory reports to BCUC. We know that from the BCUC’s investigation into gas prices that four companies control around 90% of the wholesale market in southern B.C.,” Ralston said. “By pulling back the curtain, the action we are taking today will help ensure industry is held publicly accountable for unexplained markups and prices increases.”

In March 2020, the BCUC was named as the independent administrator of the FPTA and given the power to collect and publish data on fuel pricing in order to promote competition in the market. The BCUC has launched a website to provide the public with information about the factors that influence fuel gas prices: https://www.gaspricesbc.ca/

Further regulations are also being developed for the other parts of the fuel supply chain, including the retail market.

 

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