B.C. legislation introduced to force oil and gas companies to reveal how gas prices are set

B.C. legislation introduced to force oil and gas companies to reveal how gas prices are set
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Gas prices hit 157.9 cents a litre in the Greater Victoria area in October 2019.

The B.C. government has introduced legislation that will force oil and gas companies to reveal to consumers how gas prices are set.

If passed, the Fuel Price Transparency Act will allow the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) to collect information from oil and gas companies on the market conditions involved in setting gasoline prices. The information would then be made available to the public, along with consumer and watchdog groups.

The act will require companies to share data on refined fuel imports and exports, fuel volumes at refineries and terminals, as well as wholesale and retail prices. The government said the act also has safeguards in place to ensure that the information provided by the companies is complete, accurate and reported regularly. The reporting will be done on a regular schedule.

“It’s incredibly frustrating to watch the price of gas shoot up for no reason, and British Columbians are tired of feeling ripped off whenever they fill up their vehicles,” Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, said.

“This legislation sends a message to oil and gas companies: the days of setting your prices in total secrecy have come to an end.”

The government said the act was created in response to a BCUC investigation that found a lack of competition and substantial markups in the province’s gasoline market, including a 10 to 13 cent per litre premium being charged to drivers that industry was unable to explain during the BCUC inquiry.

According to the inquiry, the unexplained premium results in British Columbians paying an extra $490 million every year.

“By pulling back the curtain, these companies will be publicly accountable for unfair markups and cost increases that cannot be explained,” Ralston said. “It will also produce a common set of facts moving forward, allowing us to properly evaluate other policy measures to bring fairness to the price at the pump.”


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