WATCH: Gas prices vary across Vancouver Island due to taxes and retail margins.
Not long ago 139.9 cents per litre would have felt like highway robbery but at some gas stations in Port Alberni Thursday morning, people felt at that price, they’re getting a bargain compared to the rest of the island.
“Yeah I?m in Victoria most of the time so it?s nice to get it when it?s a bit cheaper for sure,” said LG Rose who was filling his tank at a Petro Canada.
“It?s been lower you know and it goes up accordingly to whatever the rest of the island is doing but it?s always a few cents cheaper,” said Alf Styan.
Most stations in Port Alberni went up over the course of the day and now much of Vancouver Island is paying somewhere around 140 cents per litre, unless you?re at either end of the island.
Port Hardy is now paying as much as 155.9 cents per litre. Campbell River is at 143.9, Courtenay at 147.9, Duncan at 147.9, Langford at 152.9 and Victoria at 154.9.
The reason for the big variation is the difference in taxes and the retail margin charged by retailers.
Greater Victoria stations charge an extra 5.88 cents a litre in transit taxes and then all stations have a $0.12 per litre retail margin and it?s in the 12 cents where consumers see price volatility.
“A lot of them will drop their retail margin if they see they?re losing market share or attempt to squeeze those retail margins to the point where they?ve got to sell something else in order to make up the difference in order to compete against the big box stores who might be offering gasoline without a retail margin,” explained Dan McTeague of Gasbuddy.com
Jodi Rai has a car wash, laundromat and convenient store alongside his Petro Canada station in Port Alberni. He says in the competitive gas business every penny counts.
“You know when the price goes up it comes down one penny every time, every day one penny down till nobody makes any money. So we just have to hang tough,” he said.
And drivers should hang tough for what could be a volatile summer of gas prices.