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BC Gas Prices Still Too High - Especially in Kelowna
Friday, October 17, 2008
So we have been seeing oil prices plummet and as go the oil prices goes the Canadian dollar. Living in Kelowna, BC is tough. The housing market has been over inflated for the past 10 years, the cost of living is expensive and the low wages make it difficult to earn a good living.

Now as gas prices drop across the country and in the province of BC, in Kelowna nothing has changed. We are still paying $1.20 for a litre of gasoline. I was in Calgary last week and the cost to fill up was $20 cheaper than here in Kelowna. (For the record gas was $1.06 in Calgary at that time.) So what gives? Why does Kelowna continue to have high gas prices whn compared to other parts of Canada? It feels like Kelowna drivers are subidising those locations where the gas price are in the low 90 cents range.

Here's an interesting trend over the past year that compares BC gas prices and the price of oil.

Looking at this graph we see that although oil has dropped to below where it was a year ago, the gas prices remain 20% higher in BC. On average, especially in Kelowna we are paying bare minimum 20 cents/litre than we should be. In fact we really should be paying less than a dollar per litre. If we compare this to our neighbors to the south in the US, I heard a report that suggest that by this weekend the average price of gasoline when translated into litres would be about $0.83/litre. That's almost 40 cents cheaper than here in Kelowna.

The gasoline prices are out to lunch here in Kelowna and in British Columbia. Something needs to be done about this. We've all tries to stay away from gas stations on a given day, but I urge people to think about their transportation needs. Consider:
  • Car-pooling
  • Taking Public Transit
  • Walking or biking to school or work
  • Avoid driving as much and fill up less. Hit the fuel companies where it matters most, the pumps.
The consumer should be in control for it's you and I who help these companies earn the billions that they do. The consumer needs to experience a longer term windfall.

To compare gas prices in your town or city visit:



posted by Jody @ Friday, October 17, 2008  
  • At 4:11 PM, Blogger Rob said…

    It's our own fault. When prices were high how many people changed their habits? I bet not many. The oil companies know this which is why our prices haven't come down much.

    I think in order for our prices to really come down there has to be a significant change in attitudes. Can you imagine if everyone rode their bike or took public transit just one day a week? IE if there was a 20% drop in vehicle traffic on the roads? I bet you'd see prices plummet just to get people back in their vehicles.

    It's all about supply and demand - there's tons of demand so they can afford to keep prices up, but if demand dropped so would the prices.

  • At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Karl said…

    Rob has a point. Kelowna residents, I've read, drive an average 30k a year. When I lived in Vancouver, my wife and I drove our one vehicle 15k a year. Despite bringing our one vehicle, cycle commuting, bus-riding habits to Kelowna, we find now we drive 22k a year. That's a huge increase for us, and we're used to planning our vehicle use strategically.

    Kelowna city planning (an oxymoron?) has allowed the city to grow like one big suburb, to car-scale, rather than human-scale. Interestingly, as house prices plummet in the US, home values are doing best in "walkable" neighbourhoods.

    I agree with Jody that the gas prices in Kelowna are way out of step with the rest of the country, but the suppliers have no motivation to compete because everyone's still blasting around the roads same as ever. I haven't even noticed people slowing down to the speed limit to try and save gas. It really looks like the average Kelowna driver is sending no signal to the market that prices are too high.

    If biking, walking and riding the bus are not practical, try driving slower and saving gas that way. If everyone did that, demand would drop and then maybe we'd see a little more competition.

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