April 22, 2019 6:50 pm
Updated: April 23, 2019 11:59 am

‘The new normal’: Metro Vancouver record-high gas prices here to stay, analyst says

WATCH: Gas prices set new records, expected to go even higher

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Metro Vancouver motorists should steel themselves for more sticker shock, according to an petroleum analyst.

Gasbuddy.com’s Dan McTeague said prices of up to $1.72.9 around the region appear likely to persist for the “foreseeable future.”

On Monday, one Twitter user spotted a record-shattering price at the pump of $1.78.9.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver gas prices hit all-time high

“The good news is [Washington state’s] BP Cherry Point refinery appears to be finally back on its feet, churning out gasoline,” he said.

But McTeague said the U.S. government’s announcement Monday that it would refuse to issue sanction waivers to countries importing oil from Iran is likely to offset any gains.

“We almost caught a break there, but geopolitics has now taken over.”

WATCH: Higher gas prices in Metro Vancouver not linked to Jason Kenney win says analyst


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McTeague said that with Metro Vancouver importing of two-thirds of its gas from outside of the province —  meaning tight supply across the entire west coast — international factors and the approach of summer will likely ensure that high prices stick around, with a “new normal” ranging from $1.60-$1.75.

“The record prices we’re seeing at $1.72.9 aren’t just historical by Vancouver standards, they are truly historical by North American standards,” he said. “No city in North America has ever had to endure or pay those prices under any kind of circumstances, period.

“We’re also home to the highest tax jurisdiction anywhere in North America.”

Marc Lee, a senior economist with the left-leaning think tank the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, said from his perspective, Metro Vancouver’s fuel price woes have little to do with gasoline, and everything to do with “gouging” on the part of suppliers.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver gas prices set another record, but analyst says it’s not Alberta’s fault

“If you go back three years, April 2016, gas prices in Vancouver were $1.15 per litre. And we’re now up above $1.70 per litre. So of that 55-cent increase, only six cents of that is from tax increases,” he said.

“[The remainder] are these non-tax factors, so some of that is the higher price of crude oil, but we’ve seen these larger mark-ups being taken by refineries, and a little bit on the retailer side as well.”

Lee argued that the Vancouver region gets the bulk of its gas from the Parkland refinery in Burnaby and three refineries in Edmonton, who he said steadily boosted their margins over the last decade.

“I would argue that oil producers are gouging consumers because they can, because it’s good for their bottom line.”

He said B.C. should emulate other Canadian provinces like Nova Scotia, which uses government bodies to regulate the price of fuel.

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