The BC government will not provide any immediate, additional financial support for drivers as fuel prices continue to break records.
Energy Minister Bruce Ralston said Monday the province is looking at options but has no current plans to step up and address the rocketing price at the pumps.
In some parts of Metro Vancouver, drivers are now paying more than $2.229 per liter for gas.
“I am acutely aware of the impacts of increased prices are having whether it is on businesses or on households where you have to get your kids to soccer or to school,” Ralston said.
“We are doing what we can and will consider other measures.”
The province has not provided details on what those other measures could be.
Customers of ICBC customers will soon receive a $110-rebate from the public insurer described by government as a gas rebate. The money is from a reduction in crashes, however, and better-than-expected investment returns for ICBC.
Experts, meanwhile, expected gas prices will continue to rise into the summer.
Canadians for Affordable Energy president Dan McTeague said prices should be stable over the next few days due to concerns that high energy prices may lead to a Granthshala recession.
The gas analyst predicted prices will go up again, however, as British Columbians start to hit the road for summer holidays.
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“I think we are a good 10 to 15 cents a liter higher than what we are paying today at times, but not all the time,” McTeague said in an interview. “I think for a lot of people it will be their first trip since the pandemic. It will not be the gas they will cut, it will be other things.”
Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia, said high fuel prices are not ideal for the tourism considering it impacts flights, road travel, taxis and many other things.
A family driving a 2020 Toyota RAV4 for 1,500 kilometers on a road trip last year, for example, would have paid on average $1.74 per liter — an estimated gas bill of $206, he said.
This year, the same vehicle on the same trip would have a $284-gas bill based on $2.40 per liter.
“People may forgo a restaurant meal or two, or stay in a different venue than they had originally planned,” Judas explained. “They may forgo an activity, which would harm the tourism sector to be sure. We have not seen that yet, but no doubt that is a possibility.”
The BC Liberals are calling on the province to cut gas taxes to provide relief.
Alberta is currently not collecting its provincial tax of 13 cents per liter of gasoline or diesel until at least June 30 to ease the strain on residents’ wallets.
“There are short term reliefs they can bring in, like Alberta did, when oil is high on the Granthshala markets,” BC Liberals MLA Peter Milobar said Monday.