MLA Doug Clovechok is putting pressure on government entities and demanding answers from the B.C. government regarding gas prices in Revelstoke.
“Gas prices in this province are out of control,” said Clovechok.
On Mar. 10 in Revelstoke, regular gas prices reached never-before-seen heights, with prices as high as $2.14 per litre. Yet, just 70 km away in Sicamous, gas is $1.88 per litre.
The current average price of gas in B.C. according to the Canadian Automobile Association is $2.04 per litre.
Clovechok has been seeking answers as to why gas prices between Revelstoke and its neighbours differ for some time. “These are stark differences, and my constituents are left without answers as to why these fluctuations exist,” wrote Clovechok in a letter to Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, in 2020.
Clovechok has been in close contact with Revelstoke mayor Gary Sulz on the issue. The two had a conversation with the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) in November 2021 as to why the price is higher in the community, but have yet to receive a concrete answer.
Clovechok said that he and Sulz had conversations as recently as Mar. 8, about ramping up the pressure on the BCUC to try and get answers on the important issue. “This is still something that’s front of mind for both of us,” said Clovechok.
On Mar 7., Mike Farnworth, British Columbia’s minister of public safety, told a news conference gas prices are driven by events outside of provincial control, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has upset energy markets around the world. He said the province has no plans to follow Alberta’s lead to reduce its tax on gasoline to ease rising prices at the pumps.
Clovechok believes that the provincial government and Premier John Horgan have the ability to ease the rising cost of gas by reducing tax. “Horgan is completely deflecting the high cost of gas in this province on the war in Ukraine,” said Clovechok.
There is plenty of uncertainty around the long-term supply of crude oil since Russia is one of the largest producers of oil and gas in the world.
“It’s certainly something that the war has created,” said Clovechok. “I think people need to be really clear: this problem was in our communities before that war.”
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said on Monday (Mar. 7) residents need relief from increasing costs, and have reduced its tax by 13-cents per litre on both gasoline and diesel. Kenney also announced the government would give $150 rebates on electricity bills starting April 1.
Clovechok said that the rising cost of gas is only one factor in a growing list of problems that are making living in Revelstoke unaffordable for the average family. With the annual pace of inflation at record highs in Canada, and the average assessed property value of homes in Revelstoke up 32 per cent in 2021, finding a place to live and having the ability to support yourself has become increasingly difficult.
He added that modes of transportation that save on gas such as public transit and electric vehicles are either not affordable or not effective in Revelstoke.
Clovechok said that it’s reasonable to assume that when the conflict overseas is resolved, prices will start to drop, but emphasized that prices in Revelstoke and across the province will remain expensive.
“Will they drop below where they were before? I don’t think so.”