Premier John Horgan says it will be a “challenging summer” when it comes to gas prices in B.C., along with much of the rest of the world.
Gas prices around the province have been rising in recent weeks, hitting as high as 169.9 cents per litre in Kelowna this week, and even higher in Vancouver.
Thursday, chief petroleum analyst at En-Pro International Inc. Roger McKnight predicted prices will rise even higher through the weekend, in part due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine this week.
“Now we go into international disruptions to supply chains that are going to have an impact on supply here to British Columbia,” Premier Horgan said Friday.
In December, the B.C. government put limits on how much gasoline British Columbians could fill up with at one time in the Sea-to-Sky region, Sunshine Coast, the Gulf Island, Vancouver Island, and the Lower Mainland—as the massive storms that destroyed much of B.C.'s highway infrastructure wreaked havoc on the province's supply chains.
“Based on how we responded as a community to the challenges of not having secure supply in December, I think British Columbians will understand the situation we're in now with global events overtaking us,” Horgan said.
He noted the B.C. Utilities Commission now has the power to ask for the rationale for rising gas prices from providers of petroleum products, thanks to legislation put in place in 2019.
“The providers of gasoline have to prove that they're not just gouging because they see an opportunity, but they're increasing the cost of gasoline because of inputs outside of their control,” Horgan said.
When asked if he would consider easing provincial taxes on gas if prices rose too high, Horgan said “everything's on the table,” but noted people can also consider using public transit in urban centres if filling up the tank becomes too unaffordable.
“I'm certainly prepared to look at any opportunity to make life better for British Columbians,” he said.