Here we go again, gas prices set to rise significantly in Metro Vancouver

On this week’s edition of why it’s so expensive to live in B.C., we’re talking gas prices.

After creeping up a couple of cents overnight from Wednesday into Thursday morning, CityNews has learned they’re about to jump up again, and just in time for the Thanksgiving long weekend.

Paul Pasco, principal consultant at Kalibrate, says drivers in the Lower Mainland are going to see the price at the pump jump another eight cents by Saturday morning, bringing us even closer to the $2.50 per litre mark for regular gas, marking a new all-time record.

“This is to do with the continued tightness of supply due to the demand impacts from the refineries, ethanol, change and exchange rate, and it’s flowing through to the price at the pump, and this jump is being seen across Canada.”

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Currently, nowhere else in the country is paying $2 per litre or above.

One question that’s sure to be on everyone’s minds is when will prices go down? Pasco says don’t expect a noticeable drop anytime soon.

“We’ll see some minor relief come as the refineries in Washington state come back up and if California can bring all of its capacity back up, that’s around 900,000 barrels a day that’s currently out,” Pasco explained. “There is some hope that prices can return … [but] sub-$2 or sub-$1.50 levels are not in the immediate future.”

Pasco claims there is no price gouging at the pumps and warns this is the new norm for the next little while.

“This is really a supply and demand-based rise for the grade of fuel that’s available in British Columbia and the complexities that come with the market having to support the more complex blend with the ethanol, with the exchange rate, it becomes really a market-driven rise and is in line with the fundamentals that we’re seeing right now.”

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He points out B.C. requires a specific blend of fuel that’s environmentally friendly and that is helping drive up the price of gas, even though it burns faster when we use it.

“The West Coast, which is California, Oregon, Washington state, and British Columbia, have some of the tightest CO2 density requirements in North America, and because of this the blend of fuel that’s produced for usage on the West Coast is only really produced on the West Coast.

“So, to backfill your supply, most of the refineries in the Gulf of Mexico and the rest of Canada and the U.S. don’t produce a high enough standard of fuel and would need some tweaking to their refineries to be able to produce fuel to help the West Coast right now,” he said.

Pasco notes B.C. is not able to get that special blend from Alberta and it’s unlikely it’ll come from Washington state, which is dealing with its own refinery issues.

Taxes play a big part in how much drivers pay when they fill up as, as Matro Vancouver pays some of the highest in all of Canada.

TransLink collects 18.5 cents in tax a litre, regardless of the overall price. The transit authority tells CityNews it brings in $375 million a year, for each of the past five years, in gas taxes. It says that money goes toward operating and maintaining the transit system.

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