Gas price regulation comes to N.S.
Filling up at the pump will cost drivers about the sameanywhere inNova Scotia under gas price regulations that take effect this weekend.
As ofJuly 1, the price of self-serve gasoline across the province will be fixed for two weeks at a time.
Under the new system, drivers will not be given advance notice of price changes. Instead, wholesalers will find out about any changes on a government website, and they'll tell their retailers.
While the price will be locked down, it will not be exactly the same across the province. Customers in areas far from Halifax will pay up to two cents morea litre to help offset transportation costs.
"The fact of the matter is today, the farther you are away from Halifax, the higher the prices are," said David MacNeil, spokesman for Service Nova Scotia. "The market recognizes that today, and this regulation will recognize that as well."
Premier Rodney MacDonald says regulating gas prices will mean less volatility at the pumps and a guaranteed profit for retailers, but notlower prices.
"I think that Nova Scotians want to know that that stability is there," MacDonald said.
"Many retailers are looking to have that guaranteed margin and that's important for their long-term stability and for keeping a number of stations around rural Nova Scotia."
Despite the price lockdown, oil companies canask the province to interrupt the two-week cycleif international oilpricesrise or fallsignificantly.
Service Nova Scotia will be responsible for setting gas prices until the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board takes over later this year.
The interim leader of the Liberal party isn't sold on the idea of regulating the price at the pumps. Michel Samson says it will mean higher prices overall.
"The changes being put in today are going to guarantee that [drivers] will pay more,"Samson said. "The stability that the government promises has got a shelf life of two weeks, possibly even shorter."