July 4, 2018 8:53 pm
Updated: July 4, 2018 10:06 pm

B.C. government says don’t blame us, blame ‘gouging’ for higher gas prices

WATCH: B.C. Premier John Horgan said on Wednesday that there is an issue of supply and an issue of price increase, saying gas prices in the province are "not a tax question but a gouging question."

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B.C. Premier John Horgan says his government has nothing to do with skyrocketing gas prices. When asked on Wednesday about the price at the pumps, Horgan said it is about corporate greed, not government policy.

“Gas prices went up nine cents overnight,” Horgan said. “That’s not a tax question, that is a gouging question. When you see that type of an increase in a litre of gasoline it’s not about taxation.”

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READ MORE: Canada Day long weekend is done, but higher gas prices are here to stay: Analyst

Gas prices in Metro Vancouver went up nine cents a litre between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Gas prices hit 160.9 cents per litre on Wednesday in Vancouver. By Wednesday afternoon prices had dipped back to 150.9 cents per litre.

The B.C. NDP last week gave Metro Vancouver municipalities the ability to increase the gas tax by 1.5 per cent in order to cover a $30-million shortfall to pay for Phase 2 transit projects. The Mayors’ Council has not yet decided whether they are going to tap into those revenues.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver mayors approve province’s 1.5 per cent gas tax hike to fund transit

“The mayors said they couldn’t close the gap to pay for transit in the Lower Mainland. They asked for a tool and we gave them a tool,” said Horgan. “It is entirely up to them to use that and they have not yet done so.”

The B.C. Liberals sent out a press release on Wednesday that said many British Columbians are driving to the United States to fill up their gas tanks there. The Liberals have previously called on the government to decrease the gas tax to provide relief for drivers.

READ MORE: BC Liberals call for government to provide temporary relief at the gas pumps

“The NDP have walked into a world of the highest gas prices in North America. They then increased the carbon price in April without boosting tax like we always did,” B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said.

“People are already saying we can’t afford to live here.”

Horgan has already shot down that idea. Instead, he thinks that refining capacity should be increased in Canada.

“We have two issues. We have a matter of supply, the ability to refine more product rather than shipping off materials offshore. That would help the consumers in Canada,” said Horgan.

“We certainly need to look at why gas prices went up nine cents. That’s profits for companies.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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