Gas in N.S. up 3 cents per litre with portion to assist retailers

·2 min read
Nova Scotia drivers are paying more at the pumps for gas and diesel this week after the Utility and Review Board approved an increase to help retailers recover lost sales during the pandemic. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Nova Scotia drivers are paying more at the pumps for gas and diesel this week after the Utility and Review Board approved an increase to help retailers recover lost sales during the pandemic. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board hiked the price of gasoline about three cents per litre on Friday, with about a third of that designed to help retailers recover lost sales during the pandemic.

The UARB sets the price of gas and diesel in Nova Scotia every Friday using the New York commodities exchange price as a benchmark, and a formula that includes taxes and other adjustments.

The board issued an order this week adding an adjustment to the retail mark-up after it found that the volume of gas and diesel sold dropped to about 35 per cent of normal at one point last year.

In its order, the UARB said it was appropriate to add a reasonable price increase to make up for reduced sales volumes and it chose the first option presented by Gardner Pinfold Consultants.

Sales have gone back up, with the volume sold in March reaching about 97 per cent of its historical level, according to a report filed with the board by the consultants.

Hilda Cormier, co-owner of the PetroCanada in Cheticamp, applied to the UARB last year for an increase in the retail mark-up after people stopped travelling due to pandemic restrictions.

Retailer pleased with response

Earlier this week, she said she is pleased with the board's response.

The price of regular unleaded gas at self-serve pumps in the Halifax area is now set at a minimum of 128.4 cents per litre and a maximum of 131 cents.

In Cape Breton, the prices are set at 130.4 and 133 cents per litre.

Those prices are up about three cents per litre from the previous week, including the retail mark-up of between 0.7 and one cent per litre.

Diesel is also up this week, with between 0.3 and 0.4 of a cent per litre added for retailers.

The increased retail markup is set to decline each month until 2023, which is when the UARB expects fuel sales will return to pre-pandemic levels.

The board also says in its order this week that the retail mark-up will be set each month comparing actual sales to the previous month's volumes.

It may also end the retail mark-up sooner than December 2023 or may extend it, depending on actual sales.

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