Over the last month, many customers in North America have watched gas prices fall to levels not seen in years.
Not so in Vancouver.
Average gas prices have actually risen in the last month, defying a trend in most major cities.
In Edmonton and Calgary, Portland and Seattle, prices have fallen by around 10 cents in the last four weeks (all figures Canadian).
However, prices in Metro Vancouver area have risen by about five cents to about $1.30 per litre, according to the website GasBuddy.com.
CHART: Average retail prices for gas in Vancouver, Washington State, and Calgary in the last month. Created by GasBuddy.com
“Scandulous is too extreme a word. It’s eyebrow raising,” says Robert Levy, a director of Border Gold. But he says that while Vancouver matched other regions in declining prices from June to September – in Vancouver’s case, going from $1.54 to $1.24 a litre – prices in the city have inexplicably started to creep back up.
Levy says that there’s typically a 25 cent gap – or “premium” – between British Columbia and neighboring jurisdiction, owning mainly to different levels of taxation. But the gap right now is as high as its been in the past decade.
“You don’t want to use a word as strong as collusion, but it begs the question why in B.C.?” asks Levy.
“There is a premium that we pay, but why are prices in Vancouver more, and why are 61 gas stations selling it for the same price?”