Once again, the price of gas is skyrocketing in Metro Vancouver.
Prices as high as $2.13 per litre were spotted in Metro Vancouver over the weekend, and costs are expected to climb, leading up to the Labour Day long weekend.
As of Monday morning, the average price of gas in Vancouver was $2.08 per litre, according to GasBuddy.com.
While steep prices are sometimes a result of supply or demand issues, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives senior economist Marc Lee claims the jump in prices all comes down to oil and gas companies wanting higher profits.
Average gas prices in Metro Vancouver are sitting at more than $2 a litre and are expected to climb. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
"Oil companies are profiteering," he told The Early Edition host Stephen Quinn.
"They're not there to provide cheap gasoline to consumers. They're there to make money, and this is what they're doing."
B.C. currently pays the highest prices for gasoline, at an average of $1.93 per litre. Alberta pays the lowest, an average of about $1.44 per litre. The nationwide average is sitting at $1.68 per litre.
Lee says the amount of gas British Columbians consume is typically quite stable, so demand generally doesn't increase. He also says the cost of producing oil is also generally stable, meaning it's not a supply issue.
"Instead, what we have is gouging from from the industry."
Last fall, gas prices in Metro Vancouver peaked at $2.39. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
Last fall, gas prices peaked at $2.39 per litre in the Vancouver area.
He points to 2022 when the war in Ukraine affected gas prices in B.C. but said market conditions right now shouldn't affect gas prices to this extent.
He says the B.C. government should consider regulating gas prices the way hydroelectricity and natural gas are regulated.
"Other places do regulate gas prices: in the Maritime provinces like Nova Scotia, they have a process for regulating prices that allows companies to make profits, that accepts changes in the marketplace," Lee said.
"Conveniently, right before a long weekend, we always see prices go up. And that's just simply gouging."
No evidence of gouging, consultant says
However, Vijay Muralidharan, the owner of a Calgary-based petroleum consulting firm, said the price is based on market fundamentals of supply and that he's seen "no evidence of gouging."
Muralidharan said the price of gas is up because crude prices are almost 10 cents higher than they were just eight months ago, in December 2022. He said unplanned maintenance in several major North American refineries, mixed with sky-high demand in the summer months, is also driving prices up.
"That's caused a big surge in pricing — the other possibility is the fear of the Hurricane Idalia coming in has made the situation worse," he said.
British Columbians pay the highest on average for gasoline. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
In 2019, a B.C. government investigation into gas prices found no collusion between retail marketers setting gas prices but did find a significant unexplained difference" of about 13 cents per litre in gas prices between southern B.C. and other parts of the Pacific Northwest.
Muralidharan said because most Canadian provinces have to import gas, the weakening Canadian dollar is only making matters worse for consumers.
The Canadian Automobile Association says there are measures drivers can take to reduce fuel consumption.
Accelerating gently and coasting to decelerate instead of using your brakes.
Regular vehicle maintenance.
Don't idle your car.
Reduce weight on or in your car, such as roof racks or cargo.
Additionally, the association suggests drivers consider taking public transit, carpooling or switching to an electric vehicle to save on gasoline.