Gas companies gouging Penticton drivers

For months (if not years), gas station retailers have been gouging Pentictonites at the pump. The Canadian dollar was over par (as much as six cents) and the price of crude was down, yet the reason for the continued higher gas price is now blamed on rising ‘transportation’ costs.

For months (if not years), gas station retailers have been gouging Pentictonites at the pump. The Canadian dollar was over par (as much as six cents) and the price of crude was down, yet the reason for the continued higher gas price is now blamed on rising ‘transportation’ costs.

Here in the Okanagan Valley we are fortunate that we aren’t charged an additional 15-18 cents a litre for transit tax (as in Vancouver). We will continue to fill up, pay up and shut up because, thankfully, we only have to pay a ‘sunshine’ tax.

During a recent interview, our mayor said that the majority of Penticton residents are unlikely to drive to Kelowna to fill-up with less-expensive gas.

So if folks are not going to drive over an hour to Kelowna (or Kamloops or the U.S.) to fill up their gas tank, then there is no need for any local municipal official to investigate the 5-10 cents per litre difference. Great job, and thanks for the well-thought out analysis of the problem, Mr. Mayor. We will continue to fill up, pay up and shut up.

Numerous times, the federal government has investigated consumer complaints, but continues to say that there is no proof of price-fixing (collusion) by the oil companies and station owners. So let’s just say ‘great job’ to the federal politicians and bureaucrats who developed the Competition Act (C-34). And to those that have delved into price-fixing — and found nothing — well done.

From now until doomsday, there is absolutely no need for any politician to take any more time from running the city or country to investigate whether there is competition at the pumps. Why? Because we believe you and will continue to fill up, pay up and shut up.

To all those that say there ‘is’ competition, I acknowledge that there are the options of purchasing gas at Husky/Mohawk for the BCAA membership incentive, or the Super Store 3.5-cent cash-back (only if you purchase groceries) and even the one cent lower prices at stations on Native-owned land. However, not everyone participates in these ‘cash-back’ schemes.

So Mr. Mayor, I want to remind you to take the time to look at the exact price advertised on every sign, as you drive past the few gas stations in my city.

Of course it is usually better to support local businesses, but when I choose to drive to ‘small-town’ U.S.A., I see differences in advertised prices — even at stations selling the same brand of gasoline despite being located within a few blocks of each other.

Now that is competition.

Elaine Lewis

 

Penticton