the north island report: what is going on with the price of gas?

I normally don't complain about prices, and I dislike when other people with privilege do so. But for every rule, there's at least one exception, and this is it. What the hell is going on with the price of gas??

Gas is always expensive in our area, often a good $0.10 more per litre than in Nanaimo or Victoria.

When we left Ontario, gas prices were fluctuating between around $1.15 and $1.25. The highest price I ever saw in southern Ontario was $1.35.

Driving from the GTA to the Island, we were amazed to see less than $1.00/litre in Manitoba.

When we arrived on the Island, gas was $1.43 in Port Hardy, and usually two cents less in Port McNeill. And it stayed that way for months. Suddenly, three weeks ago, it shot up to $1.48... then $1.50... now $1.50 would be a welcome change. When I left Port Hardy yesterday, gas was $1.68/litre. Further down island in Campbell River, it was $1.55. Much better, but still crazy-high.

This story -- Gas prices break records in B.C. for second weekend in a row" -- shows a Vancouver station at 1.72.

People in areas with good transit options, and people with the ability to bike to work, often blame drivers for their dependency on fossil fuel. But not depending on fossil fuel is a privilege. Most people have no choice. In order to work and to live, they must drive. I drive less than five minutes to work, and Allan works from home. But our library customers and co-workers, who work mostly part-time and often in casual arrangements, are spending half a paycheque or more just getting to work and getting home again. People who already spend half their paycheque on rent!

I don't believe this is the result of federal or provincial carbon taxes. Those taxes account for a few cents per litre, not $0.30 per. Even so, this demonstrates the idiocy and injustice of expecting individual consumers to solve climate change. While governments continue to fund planet-killing industries, instead of investing in local economies and requiring corporations to do the same, and requiring them to pay their fair share of taxes, working-class and middle-class people get squeezed.

People need to drive to survive. They don't have the privilege of "making better choices".

BC Premier John Horgan says that the government will monitor prices over the summer, and will consider providing some relief. Not enough. People are hurting. They need help.


allan said...

For our US friends, $1.68/liter = $6.36/gallon.

impudent strumpet said...

Is this the time of year when they switch from winter gas to summer gas, or is that another time of year?

Amy said...

Thanks, Allan, for sparing me the trouble of converting from liters to gallons and Canadian dollars to US dollars. WOW. Over $6 a gallon!

And it's true that many people have no choice but to drive. Where we live, there is very little public transportation---no one I know uses it. And jobs are too far for most people to get to by foot or bike. And when something like gas gets so costly, it hurts those who earn less a lot more than those who earn more.

laura k said...

Imp, I don't know. I didn't even know there was a such a thing -- Googled it after your comment.

Litres to gallons -- pretty easy. CAD to USD -- not needed. My permanently broken online-joke-o-meter is buzzing very, very faintly... but I think I hear it... :)

Amy said...

Liters to gallons---easy if you know the ratio and don't have to look it up. Since I don't ever use the metric system, I'd need to look it up. So Allan saved me that step.

CAD to USD---isn't there some difference, or are they now both equivalent? When we were in Canada (many years ago), I recall that there was a difference---maybe 5% or 10%?

laura k said...

Amy, I meant easy to look up online. Sorry, I didn't mean easy to convert on your head, something most people (including me) can't do. These days you can type "6 litres in gallons" (eg) and instantly get the correct answer.

The reason there's no reason to convert CAD to USD is because the people paying this price for gas are using CAD. That's how I look at it, anyway

laura k said...

The conversion rate varies. Canadians tend to fret over it no matter what it is. Right now it's probably 1.3-ish.

Stephanie said...

I think the government should be focused on making mass transit much better and promoting electric vehicles...

laura k said...

Sure. But those are years away, and for rural people, transit will never be adequate. People need help now.

Amy said...

For the record, if Allan had NOT provided the conversion, I was just about to look it up myself. I learned back in the JOS days not to ask questions I could look up on my own! :)

laura k said...


wallythe24 said...

Where I am ( England ) it's about $2.11 and probably more than that in the South West where everything is more expensive.

laura k said...

Hi Wally. That's in dollars per litres? (Not pounds?)

24 -- Manny?

wallythe24 said...

Hi Laura ,

That's per litre in Canadian dollars.
Yes it's because of Manny and the number I used when I played.

laura k said...

I've always heard that gas was much more expensive in Europe. People say there are much better public transit options, but I don't know if that applies everywhere, such as in rural areas. Plus I know the UK privatized much transit, which made fares skyrocket.

Yay for #24.

wallythe24 said...

Public transport , especially in rural areas has been hammered with cuts for years and the obvious hike in fares that goes with it. I don't use it a great deal as I work within walking distance which cuts out what's most peoples biggest outgoing travel-wise. It's probably going to get worse over the next few years.

allan said...

It's probably going to get worse over the next few years.

As will everything else.

laura k said...

Public transport , especially in rural areas has been hammered with cuts for years and the obvious hike in fares that goes with it.

Yep, not a lot of profit in rural routes. Privately owned transit companies don't care how we get to work.

wallythe24 said...

Allan ,

Unless there's a seismic shift in thinking ( not holding breath).

Laura ,

Three of my kids have been or are going to college , it hits them too.

Jay Farquharson said...

The Word from Those Who Know is:

$0.12 a litre raise in the Gas Stations profits,
Carbon Tax raise,
2 Refineries shut down for upgrades, creating a shortage,
Alberta’s production caps reducing supply,