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Gas prices jump ahead of long weekend as B.C. awaits provincial inquiry report

A brief history of gas prices in B.C.
WATCH: With the constant rise of gas prices in B.C. and little hope of relief on the horizon, here is a brief look back to the gas wars of the 1980's and our journey to where we are now.

The cost of filling up is expected to rise yet again in Metro Vancouver, just as a report is set to be released from a provincial inquiry into B.C.’s sky-high gas prices.

Prices are expected to crawl past $1.50 per litre in Metro Vancouver for the first time in weeks on Friday morning — also just in time for the Labour Day long weekend.

Energy analyst Dan McTeague said more pennies will be added to those pump prices throughout the weekend, before hitting north of $1.55 per litre by Sunday.

READ MORE: B.C. gas price probe may help public understand market, but don’t expect ‘bombshells’: expert

The spike coincides with increased demand, McTeague said, but he also pointed at the region’s reliance on U.S. fuel.

“Once again, the Olympic pipeline that supplies a significant amount of fuel in the U.S. northwest market and to some extent even us in Vancouver, that pipeline is down for routine repairs,” he said.

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Prices in Metro Vancouver have been hovering around an average of $1.45 per litre since late June, a relief to drivers who saw fuel costs exceed North American records in the spring.

The wild fluctuations, which at one point shot prices past $1.70 per litre, prompted the B.C. government to announce an inquiry into the matter in May, the final report of which is due Friday morning.

WATCH: (July 18) Day two of government gas prices inquiry hears allegations of gouging

Day two of government gas prices inquiry hears allegations of gouging
Day two of government gas prices inquiry hears allegations of gouging

The B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) was mandated to explore the reasons behind the high prices and fluctuations, which B.C. Premier John Horgan has blamed on oil company “gouging,” and establish a “common set of facts.”

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Oil companies were tasked with providing information on their retail and refining margins with the inquiry panel.

Some major names like Shell and Suncor refused, citing reasons of confidentiality and “competitive sensitivity.”

READ MORE: B.C. premier hints at court action for oil companies witholding info from gas price probe

Representatives for those companies also testified during a four-day public hearing that helped inform the final report.

The hearing heard those companies deny any collusion or price setting between them, arguing that stiff competition was a major factor that contributed to price fluctuations.

The probe has been criticized for not looking at government taxes, which add as much as 40 cents per litre to the price of gas in parts of B.C.

WATCH: (July 17) B.C. gas price inquiry begins

B.C. gas price inquiry begins
B.C. gas price inquiry begins

The BC Liberals have called on the NDP government to lower some of those taxes, including the TransLink motor fuel tax and the carbon tax, to provide short-term relief for drivers.

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Horgan has called for more refineries to be built in B.C. or Alberta.

—With files from Janet Brown and the Canadian Press