British Columbia

B.C. Interior town has the highest gas prices in the region and no one seems to know why

Revelstoke, B.C., Mayor Gary Sulz says he has written to the B.C. government and the local MLA about why it costs so much to fuel up in his town but hasn't received any answers.

Regular car fuel in Revelstoke, B.C., currently costs $1.64/L, higher than in many towns in the region

Regular gas costs $1.64 per litre in Revelstoke, B.C., as of Oct. 18, according to GasBuddy. (CBC)

Howard Lehman has been running a fairly successful taxi fleet in Revelstoke, B.C., since 2019 — but the high gas prices in town pose some challenges to his business.

The southeastern B.C. community of more than 7,500 residents is now seeing regular gas at $1.64 per litre — one of the highest rates in the region — according to GasBuddy.

"Oh my gosh … every day I go to the gas pump and every day it costs me more and more money to put fuel in my tank," Lehman told host Chris Walker on CBC's Daybreak South.

"In the middle of high ski season. It's not unusual for my cars to burn $100 per shift. And it's going to be a lot higher now — it's probably going to be about $135 per shift."

B.C. Interior's gas prices generally get cheaper when heading east along Highway 1 —  from $1.58/L in Kamloops to $1.53/L in Salmon Arm to $1.46 in Sicamous — but Revelstoke bucks the trend.

Lehman says the cost of gas is so high, he's thinking about replacing one of his four taxis with an all-electric one in the spring when he will have earned enough money to do it.

The high gas price has been a mystery to Lehman and other Revelstoke residents — even the mayor says he doesn't know what has been pushing prices up.

"We've never got a definitive answer from the government or from the petroleum association," Mayor Gary Sulz said on Daybreak South.

Revelstoke Mayor Gary Sulz says he hasn't received answers from the local MLA and the B.C. government about the reason behind his city's higher gas prices. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

Sulz says he has spoken to Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok, who wrote to B.C. Energy Minister Bruce Ralston last April asking about the high fuel prices in Revelstoke, but he says he hasn't heard back.

The Ministry of Energy told CBC News it responded to the MLA that same month.

The mayor notes that continuing high gas prices will impact the daily life of local residents.

"It's costing more and more every month, so it's coming out of your grocery money or your mortgage," he said. "You see less people driving around or if they're going out of town for any reason, they'll be filling up somewhere else."

GasBuddy petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan, who is based in Chicago, says the higher gas prices in a small town like Revelstoke could be a result of a lack of competition between gas stations.

"This area is a little bit secluded and there are no easy alternatives for motorists in this community," he said. "I think that the more stations lose business, the more likely they are to to lower their price."

LISTEN |  Revelstoke Mayor Gary Sulz shares his frustration on not gettting answers on high gas prices:

With files from Daybreak South

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