Gasoline prices have hit record levels in Parksville, reaching to $1.70 a litre in Metro Vancouver where transit taxes are highest in B.C. (Black Press Media)

More gasoline, less bitumen in Trans Mountain pipeline, B.C. premier urges Trudeau

John Horgan asks B.C. Utilities Commission to investigate why B.C. drivers pay more

B.C. Premier John Horgan has urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to use the Alberta-B.C. pipeline he bought to help drivers get past a period of record gasoline prices.

Horgan said he reminded Trudeau about the changing products of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which transports refined fuels, light crude and diluted bitumen from the Edmonton area to port and refinery facilities in Burnaby and Washington state.

“I laid out for him my concerns about the inordinate spike in retail gas prices in B.C., which was not connected to any policy decision, it just seemed to be, in my opinion, gouging,” Horgan told reporters at the B.C. legislature Tuesday.

“I said I was disappointed to see so much diluted bitumen coming into the existing pipe at the expense of refined product. He understood that. He talked about the National Energy Board processes [still ongoing after a court decision delaying the expansion] and he concluded that he would ask his officials to take a look.”

Horgan also released a letter he sent to the B.C. Utilities Commission, which regulates monopoly power rates and vehicle insurance, asking the independent agency to examine gasoline prices.

“The wholesale price of gasoline, which does not have fuel taxes, retail sales and carbon tax added to it, had historically been 2.5-4 cents a litre more expensive in Vancouver than in Edmonton – which reasonably reflected the cost of transporting refined products from Edmonton to Vancouver,” the letter to BCUC chair David Morton states.

The wholesale gap began to widen four years ago and has “exploded” in the past two months, reaching nearly 24 cents a litre.

READ MORE: Horgan says gasoline price spike is profit taking

READ MORE: B.C. Liberals put up ‘blame Horgan’ billboards

“British Columbians want to know why refining margins are so much higher than in other parts of the country,” the letter says. “In March 2019, refining margins for Vancouver were more than double the Canadian average and higher than any other major city in North America.”

Horgan emphasized that he wants the commission to establish “a common set of facts” about the profits of refiners in Alberta and the U.S.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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