The price of fuel has skyrocketed in the last decade – in some places more than others.
As of noon on Thursday afternoon, the price per litre of fuel in Fort St. John was 132.9 for regular unleaded, while in Dawson Creek, it was five cents cheaper at 127.9. This five cent difference has been consistent over the last several months.
“There are a lot of different factors that go into it, but it would be local competition, transportation and those would be your two main factors leading to any price differential that you see,” said Tom McMillan, the director of corporate communications with Parkland Fuel Corporation – Fas Gas’ parent corporation.
He noted that the fuel that is sold in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John respectively would all travel from Alberta.
“That gasoline, the fuel that you would be receiving would all be coming from either the Edmonton refineries, or the train to Grande Prairie and then put on a truck and driven from Grande Prairie, so you’re probably seeing a surcharge for that transportation,” he said.
Dawson Creek and District’s Chamber of Commerce President Kimeal Shearing-Cooke said that her husband is a trucker.
She said truckers often know the best places to stop for fuel.
“I’ve always found Fort St. John very high priced when it comes to fuel, and I don’t know why because it’s 50 miles from here,” she said.
She noted that fuel was cheaper in Watson Lake, YT, than it was in Dawson Creek.
“When it was $1.49 (per litre) here, it was cheaper in Watson Lake,” she continued. “It is cheaper up the Alaska Highway.
“My husband hauls horses and hay there all the time and he always fuels up at certain places and it’s cheaper than it is here,” she continued.
Brent Hodson, Fort St. John and Area’s Chamber of Commerce President, attributes the extra cost to the extra distance.
“We’re only 45 minutes away from Dawson Creek,” he said. “There’s the cost of that much more transportation.
“If you were to phone Fort Nelson as well, they of course would be significantly higher because they’re a bit of a ways away still,” Hodson continued.
The price per litre of regular unleaded in Fort Nelson currently sits at 144.9, while it’s 137.7 in Watson Lake.
In addition to transportation and competition, margins vary in different regions.
“You’ll see different markets, like Dawson Creek may get depressed from a margin standpoint and Fort St. John may expand and vice versa,” he said.
Shearing-Cooke noted that fuel costs change constantly, but ultimately it’s a necessity for those who live here, and doesn’t impact those travelling up the Alaska Highway.
“For the most part, when you’re talking tourism and stuff like that… when you’re talking about the tourism part of things, that doesn’t hinder people from coming up the Alaska Highway one bit.”