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Valley advantage? Local gas prices lowest in the province

Gas prices in Courtenay are the lowest in the province - File photo
Gas prices in Courtenay are the lowest in the province
— image credit: File photo

Despite high gas prices at the pumps, Comox Valley motorists can claim they have the lowest gas prices in the province — for now.

As of Wednesday, prices across the region were posted at 129.9 cents per litre, a price which Jason Toews, Gasbuddy.com co-founder, calls “pretty cheap.”

“Other places nearby, such as Campbell River, have prices at 137.9,” he added.

Stations in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland claimed some of the highest prices, sitting at 154.9 per litre.

Toews’ website is dedicated to tracking gas prices and trends across Canada and the U.S., and he attributes the lower Valley prices to Costco’s impact in the community.

“They are really aggressive in their pricing, and they’ve forced all of the competition to compete,” he explained.

“They lower their prices as far as they have to go to be the cheapest, and other stations are saying ‘no — we’re not going to let you beat us.’”

Toews said although other communities – both on Vancouver Island and across the province – have Costco stores, they are not nearly as aggressive with their pricing as they are in the Valley.

“In Victoria, it’s a bigger region, there are more gas stations and many are higher than Costco,” he added.

Additionally, consumers in Metro Vancouver pay a nine-cent transit tax, which is incorporated into the price at the pump.

Victoria has a 3.5-cent municipal fuel tax.

Despite political uncertainty in Iraq and the Middle East, Toews noted Canada does not use oil at the pumps from those countries, but pump price is influenced by world market prices.

“If Canadian oil companies can make more money by sending their crude oil to France — a country which usually gets oil from Iraq — then they will do that, and that pushes up the world price.”

Despite entering summer driving season, Toews predicts there shouldn’t be a major increase in pump prices across B.C., although the Comox Valley may see an increase.

“The increase is already here, but prices might fluctuate another two to four cents. There might be some regional fluctuation, and the price could go up in Courtenay because gas is cheaper,” he explained.

He added if the political landscape in the Middle East deteriorates further, “then all bets are off. There could be major increases to the price of gas. There’s a lot of uncertainty with what’s going to happen politically.”

• • •

Have rising gas prices affected your summer travel plans? Have you had to change or cancel trips because of the cost of fuel, or do you think prices at the pump will drop or remain the same throughout the summer?

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