British Columbia

Washington state border town cashes in on high Metro Vancouver gas prices

The cost of gas in British Columbia is so high that it’s not just affecting B.C. drivers — it’s having an impact south of the border too.

Blaine, Washington expects to see a 12 percent increase in its gas tax revenue thanks to B.C. drivers

Gas prices climbed to 147.9 per litre in Metro Vancouver on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, which is roughly the same time gas stations in Blaine, Wash. started to see an increase in Canadian customers. (Stephanie Mercier/CBC)

The cost of gas in British Columbia is so high that it's not just affecting B.C. drivers — it's having an impact south of the border too.

So many Canadians are filling up in Blaine, Wash., that the city expects to collect an extra 12 per cent in revenue this year from its penny-a-gallon gas tax.

City finance director Jeff Lazenby says the additional revenue will be spent on road maintenance and improvement projects.

"The dollar value we forecast is an extra $20,000 to $30,000 compared to last year," he said.

"Our street operations budget is only about $600,000, so any small increase like that can have a significant impact."

Blaine's bounce back

Blaine was a popular destination for Canadian shoppers a few years ago when the loonie was at par with the U.S. dollar.

When the loonie started to sag and B.C. shoppers stopped crossing the border, Blaine's economy was hit hard.

Lazenby says his city has seen a significant increase in Canadian shoppers since the beginning of the year.

"When Canadians come up here to buy gas, they're also buying milk, cheese and picking up packages," he said. "There's definitely an indirect benefit."

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