Gas price fixing fears prods Timmins council to ask for probe

Timmins city council is wondering if gas stations are illegally fixing the price of petroleum in the region.
A Timmins councillor wants the federal competition bureau to look into why all Timmins gas stations charge the same price. (CBC)

Timmins city council is wondering if gas stations are illegally fixing the price of petroleum in the region.

Council voted Monday night to ask the competition bureau to investigate the price of gas in the city.

Coun. John Curley, who championed the issue, said there never seems to be any price wars between service stations.

"The part that I have trouble with is the fact that every gas station is the same price. As we saw about a month ago, all across the city, [there was a] five cent increase [in price]."

Coun. Steven Black supported the call for an investigation, but doesn't expect it will lead to cheaper gas.

"I don't think a lot is going to come from this,” he said.

“I can look at a convenience store and, for the most part they all charge me the same for a bag of chips or a bottle of pop. Why? Because if they don't, you're going to run down the street and get it from the next one."

Curley said he believes the price of gas might be illegally inflated across the north and is urging other city councils to also call for a federal investigation.

While he admits that he doesn't have any hard evidence, Curley said that was also the starting point for investigations in Quebec and Eastern Ontario that lead to charges against gas companies in recent years.

"Not that they had any concrete information, but they were allowed to investigate,” he said. “And that's all I'm asking. Let it start and see where it goes."

The huge difference in gas prices between northern and southern Ontario should also be investigated, Curley added.


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