The price at the pump isn’t only dependent on crude oil prices

Gas price depends on competition

NANAIMO – Lower cost found across Vancouver Island.

With crude oil prices generally dropping, the price of gas seems to be following suit but there seems to be a rate discrepancy across Vancouver Island.

When the price of gas in Nanaimo was $1.219 a litre between Nov. 20-21, it was $1.109 per litre in Saanich, $1.189 in Duncan, $1.199 in Port Alberni and $1.159 in Courtenay.

The variation hasn’t gone unnoticed. Longtime Nanaimo resident Bill Block travels frequently to the cancer clinic in Victoria and in the last three weeks, he’s noticed gas in the capital city is usually seven to 10 cents cheaper.

“Like [Nov. 21], I filled up in Victoria for $1.109. Well in Nanaimo, it was $1.219 – somebody’s gouging us here,” said Block. “I know there’s profit to be made and people should make a profit, just the same, I still think somewhere here in Nanaimo, they’re being a little greedy about it and I always wondered why we never seem to get a price break here.”

Gasbuddy.com Canadian senior petroleum analyst Dan McTeague, former MP and chairman of the 1997 Liberal committee on gasoline pricing, said the price at the pump isn’t only dependent on crude oil prices. Refined price and margins, retail margins and taxes are also factors.

McTeague said there isn’t as great a level of competition amongst retailers in Nanaimo as there is in Victoria and that is part of the reason for price discrepancy. Not as much gas is sold in Nanaimo, so it can have a much “skinnier” margin. In fact, he said Victoria is the polar opposite. It is so competitive it’s cutthroat.

“You’re looking at a very different market and I suspect that the one thing that tells me why the prices are much lower there is the presence of the large players … particularly Costco. It’s Costco that’s the price leader, so as people are looking for just the cheapest price, others are prepared to drop their numbers,” said McTeague.

“Prices have been high, they’re coming down. It’s obvious that in Nanaimo you have room for further cuts in fuel prices and I would suspect the longer the depressed crude prices exist, in considering markets further south, where you have prices that are 12, 10 cents cheaper, even with the tax differential, only three or four cents, there’s still room for some changes,” he said.

Adrien Byrne, a Chevron spokesperson, also said competition is the reason why prices differ from areas like Victoria and Nanaimo.

“There’s less competition in Nanaimo and than in Victoria,” said Byrne.

“We actually don’t make a whole lot of money in Victoria because it’s that competitive but there are some additional players in the market in Victoria as compared to Nanaimo, which tends to keep prices up in Nanaimo a little bit.”

Just Posted

Team Harrison prevails in Port Alberni men’s bonspiel

Annual bonspiel drew 20 teams from out of town

Wedding plans derailed following City of Port Alberni’s train announcement

Five wedding parties are scrambling to find alternate transportation arrangements to McLean… Continue reading

Kids help Alberni Aquarium build rockfish luminary for next exhibit

Swimming For Change takes over in time for spring break

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

Credit card fraud steals $50,000 from Victoria businesses: police

Crime Reduction Unit investigating several frauds costing several businesses over $50,000

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

B.C.-based ‘Team Tardi’ brings home gold in junior curling worlds

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

People gather for funeral of seven children killed in fast-moving Halifax fire

Traditional portion of the service will be followed by words from community members

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

B.C. skip Sarah Wark and team eliminated at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Nontheless pretty impressive stuff from the 24th-ranked team in the country

Most Read