Alexis Nguyen / Staff reporter

Vancouver has one of the highest gas prices in Canada, costing around $1.50 a litre, and surrounding cities in the Lower Mainland have similar prices.

Many are asking what they’re actually paying for when they fill up at the pumps, and whether or not the government and oil companies are gouging these prices.

B.C. has two main refineries, one in Burnaby and one in Prince George, but only having two refineries means there isn’t enough gasoline to meet the demand in the province. Much of B.C.’s gasoline comes from Alberta, through the Trans Mountain Pipeline, and from Washington State.

Parkland Fuel Refinery in Burnaby, British Columbia

The biggest cost of gasoline in B.C. is the crude oil arriving and turning that into gasoline. It costs between 40 to 45 cents for crude oil to arrive here, then another 40 cents to make the crude oil into gasoline.

Then gas stations will add around 8 to 9 cents to that number to be able to pay for various costs and still make a profit. This amount can vary between each station, hence why different gas stations will have different prices.

People who buy gas in Metro Vancouver will then have to pay up to 60 cents in taxes. These are the taxes broken down according to the article Why do you pay so much for gas? Here’s a hint: It’s not just taxes written by Jesse Johnston from CBC.

  • Provincial motor fuel tax – 1.75 cents
  • Carbon tax – 8.89 cents
  • B.C. Transportation Finance Authority tax – 6.75 cents
  • TransLink tax – 18.5 cents
  • Federal excise tax – 10 cents

On top of all those taxes, there is the five percent Goods and Services Tax paid based on the total price.

This means the 85 cents for transportation and refining, plus the 9 cents at the gas stations and the 45.89 cents in added taxes are going to be getting the five percent tax. In this case, the total price would be 146.9 cents.

In simpler terms, those who pay for gas are paying tax on top of the taxes.

Unfortunately, this is not the highest that gas prices will get to this year. It is expected that the price of gas will be $1.65 to $1.70 this summer. The main reason is British Columbians will be driving a lot more compared to the previous months. Since the demand is going up, the supply will also have to go up, and refineries may not be able to keep up with the amount needed in Metro Vancouver.

“I don’t see oil producers getting back online. In fact I see a lot of refineries not being able to pick up as they were pre-pandemic,” says Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, from the article Pain at the pumps: $1.70 a litre gas predicted this summer in Metro Vancouver written by St. John Alexander.

These high gas prices will effect student drivers because the costs can add up more easily. Those students might have part-time jobs and part of their expenses with using a car is filling up their gas.

Having to pay for fuel takes a cut from their paychecks, and even though filling up gas only happens about every two to three weeks depending on how much driving the student does, the task would still cost quite a bit of that hard earned money, which can be spent on other necessities or saved.

For example, if a student owns a car that has a tank of 40 litres and the cost of gas is $1.50 a litre, that equals to around $60 every three weeks.

This might make some teens rethink whether a car is worth it or not, especially with the costs associated with the vehicle and if they would be able to keep up with them.

Comparing this price to other provinces and cities in Canada, it is quite high. P.E.I.’s gas prices are going up as well, but their price is sitting around $1.20 per litre. Toronto and the surrounding area is about $1.25 per litre.

With other parts of Canada having cheaper gas prices, some British Columbians are outraged at the amount they’re paying for gas here. Especially since the provincial government has imposed so many different taxes on gasoline prices.

The government and oil companies are going at each other on which one of them is the cause of the high prices in B.C., and with them constantly going back and forth, it seems as like the price of gasoline will not be going down anytime soon.



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Pain at the pumps: $1.70 a litre gas predicted this summer in Metro Vancouver

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Why do you pay so much for gas? Here’s a hint: It’s not just taxes

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Provincial and Territorial Energy Profiles – British Columbia

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