New Brunswickers pay higher prices at the pumps than other Canadians, report says
Report says people in province spent $15M too much since 2006, and regulation hasn't helped
Gas prices may fluctuate each week but the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies says government-controlled gasoline is costing consumers in the region millions of dollars.
In fact, the report said New Brunswickers have paid $15 million more for gas than they had to since regulations were put in place in 2006.
AIMS, an economic research institute, compared the baseline prices in an unregulated market to prices in the four Atlantic provinces, where governments sets maximum prices.
When you look at the vast array of things that governments need to be doing or should be doing, one would have to put determining the price of gasoline very low on that list.-Marco Navarro-Génie , CEO of Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
The institute found that Atlantic Canadians are paying more at the pumps than other Canadians.
In New Brunswick, the Energy and Utilities Board sets a maximum price every Wednesday night.
Marco Navarro-Génie, CEO of AIMS, said government has more pressing things to work on than regulating the price of gas.
"When you look at the vast array of things that governments need to be doing or should be doing, one would have to put determining the price of gasoline very low on that list," he said.
Navarro-Génie suggested removing the regulation altogether.
According to information published Friday, the highest gas price in Alberta over the last 36 hours was $1.12, while in New Brunswick the price sat at $1.06.
But even if the AIMS analysis is correct as a general rule, some Fredericton residents questioned at the gas pumps this week said they were in favour of gas regulation.
Brad Detchevery owns two cars and said he pays about $380 a month on gas.
He said he buys his gas from Costco, a retailer with prices that are often lower than elsewhere in the city.
"I'm for the regulation of the gas prices, and I like the way they do it in New Brunswick because they set a maximum, which still allows for competition," he said.
Ashley Bearresto said she drives 30 minutes every day from Jemseg to work in Fredericton.
She said her car doesn't take a lot of gas but the cost still adds up.
I like the way they do it in New Brunswick because they set a maximum.- Brad Detchevery , driver
"I think it's working," she said. "Like I mean you definitely see it going up and down. Obviously, it would be nice if it was down a little more. But others pay more than $1.15 and stuff, so that's more than we're paying here in New Brunswick."
Not everyone likes the regulation.
John Armstrong, who drives a Toyota Tacoma, a large truck, said regulations don't seem to be helping.
Armstrong said New Brunswickers are still paying too much for gas, and every holiday or special time of the year gas, gas prices appear to go up.
No plans to change regulations
Despite the report, the province said the regulation has kept prices under control.
Energy and Resource Development Minister Rick Doucet said the regulatory framework is designed to give consumers the lowest possible price without jeopardizing the continuity of supply.
"Since regulation, from 2007 to 2016, New Brunswick's average gasoline prices were approximately 1.6 cents lower than the Canadian average," he said in an emailed statement on Thursday.
The government has no plans to change the regulatory framework, Doucet said.