British Columbia

Squamish drivers protest 'gouging' gas prices

Squamish residents frustrated over high gas prices organized a protest on Sunday to draw attention to prices 15 cents more per litre than in Metro Vancouver.

Gas in Squamish rose to $1.45 a litre on Sunday, 15 cents more than in Vancouver

Squamish drivers say they should be paying less for gas than in Vancouver where there's a 18.5 cent transit levy per litre of gas. (Doug Kerr / CBC)

A group of Squamish residents were out in protest Sunday over gas prices they say are unfairly higher than Metro Vancouver.

More than 50 people gathered holding signs denouncing "price-gouging" in front of a Chevron station selling gas at $1.45 per litre. Meanwhile, gas was priced at $1.30 per litre at several Vancouver stations.

"We're just tired of being gouged," said Patricia Carlin who started a Facebook group called Squamish Gas Prices where residents have been discussing the issue. "I mean apparently it has something to do with being on the way to Whistler so they're just ripping off all the tourists."

British Columbians across the province have been frustrated by gas prices higher than most other places in Canada.

Patricia Carlin is the administrator of the Facebook group Squamish Gas Prices. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

In August, a months-long inquiry concluded that the province's market is not truly competitive and that there's a "significant unexplained difference" of about 13 cents per litre in gas prices between southwest B.C. and other parts of the Pacific Northwest.

"I don't think anyone understands how gas prices are set," said Christopher DiCorrado. "Obviously there's more competition in Vancouver so if you don't like the price you can go not that far away to find something that's maybe five cents cheaper." 

'Ripped off'

Drivers in Squamish believe their gas should be comparable to much cheaper prices in the Fraser valley, where there isn't an 18 cent transit levy on gas like in Metro Vancouver.

"We don't have a transit levy here yet we're consistently higher," said Ray Appleton who's lived in Squamish for 30 years. "The gas price here yesterday was $1.559."

Gas in Vancouver was under $1.30 at many stations, much cheaper than in Squamish despite the 18.5 cent TransLink tax in Metro Vancouver. (Bhupinder Hundal / CBC)

The protestors say they've been told prices are so high because Squamish is outside Metro Vancouver.

But they say this doesn't explain why gas in Pemberton. which is much farther away from Vancouver, is usually approximately $0.15 cheaper.

"Really we feel like we are being ripped off. We feel like someone is stealing from us," said resident Colette Fauchon.

With files from Deborah Goble

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