MLA's gas survey shows Whistler pays less on average than Vancouver area 

Jordan Sturdy monitored gas prices in SQuamish, Whistler and North Vancouver

click to enlarge PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

If you believe that Squamish seems to be paying the same price as the Lower Mainland at the pump — despite the Vancouver area's added TransLink tax — you may not like the results of this informal study.

The results from MLA Jordan Sturdy's recent survey suggest that over the first half of the year, Squamish, on average, paid 18 cents less than the Lower Mainland.

At the time, the Vancouver area's TransLink tax was about 17 cents per litre. As of July 1, it's risen to 18.5 cents.

"The real interest was: is the differential with regard to a TransLink fuel levy — is that reflected in the pricing between Metro and the corridor?" said Sturdy.

"It did indicate, that for the most part... that differential of taxation was reflected."

Prior to Sturdy's survey, there was a perception in town that Squamish has been getting unfairly gouged at the pump.

Many believe that stations in Squamish charge the same as Vancouver, despite the Lower Mainland's added tax.

Sturdy's results — at least for Squamish — seem to contravene those perceptions.

Whistler, on the other hand, seemed to fare differently.

The average differential between North Vancouver and resort municipality was found to be 11 cents.

"This was just a bit of a snapshot. Because this all was generated through concerns of people that expressed to me... about collusion and price fixing, and that somebody should make a complaint to the competition bureau," said Sturdy.

"So, I looked at the website and looked at how they received information, and I thought, well, I can't just write a complaint and say... that there's price fixing. We needed to have some sense of the reality and what the data shows. This was a bit of a superficial approach, I acknowledge that it's by no means comprehensive."

Reactions to the results were mixed, Sturdy said, as some disagreed with the findings.

For his part, Sturdy acknowledged that the survey was not scientific and could very well have a number of imperfections, as he noted that an ideal study would've been tracking the prices daily.

To do the study, he checked the prices of Chevron gas stations in Whistler, Squamish and Vancouver on Wednesday and Saturday every week for up to 16 weeks. This started on Feb. 20 and ended on June 5.

This article originally appeared here.


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