Alleged gas pump price hike prompts Alberta premier to demand investigation
Alberta’s premier is demanding an explanation for gasoline prices that continue to soar across the province.
In a press release on Friday afternoon, Jason Kenney said he was launching an investigation into a possible price hike.
« First, this afternoon I met with the Canadian Fuels Association to express Albertans’ frustration with recent gasoline price trends and to demand an explanation of why this is happening. » , Kenney said in a statement.
“Second, I will ask Canada’s Competition Bureau to investigate possible gasoline price fixing in Alberta. Under the competition law, it is illegal for competitors to collude to fix prices. Albertans deserve to know if this is happening.
Kenney went on to say that he asked Service Alberta to explore all the tools available in the province under the Consumer Protection Act.
“With Alberta no longer collecting fuel taxes at the pump, Albertans deserve to know why they are suddenly paying as much for gas as motorists in Toronto when just two weeks ago they were paying significantly less .
On Friday, the average regular gasoline price in Toronto was around $1.689 per litre, according to GasBuddy.
In Calgary and Edmonton, the average price was $1.769 per liter — Albertans have historically paid much lower prices than Ontarians due to taxes and proximity to refineries.
One energy analyst calls it a « category 5 fleece. »
Canadians for Affordable Energy President Dan McTeague says gas station operators in Alberta are taking advantage of drivers and need to start passing on the savings immediately.
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He said Shaye Ganam gas stations at 630 CHED and 770 CHQR are reaping profits on the backs of consumers even as the price of crude drops.
“Their retail margins, which have always been very competitive in the range of 10, 12 or 13 cents per liter, are now 40 cents per liter and that is wrong and unacceptable,” McTeague said.
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“Whoever runs these gas stations should be ashamed of themselves because what they are doing is creating an environment where people are rightfully going to charge regulated prices for gasoline. There’s no way under the sun they could justify that.
Gasoline prices in Calgary have fallen slightly over the past two days, ranging from 147.9 to 178.9 cents per litre.
But McTeague says that’s not enough. He is calling for an immediate reduction of 20 cents per litre.
“I think first of all we need to focus on those who benefit consumers here. And not the person working behind the desk, but the gas stations belong to a group…these are the people you have to chase.
« These are the people who are essentially doing murder at the expense of the public, and I’m not talking about a small amount. »
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University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe believes it’s probably much more complex than gas stations simply pocketing profits.
« Margins are very high – historically high – so that needs an explanation. I think we’re going to see more information coming out, more analytics coming out to hopefully shed some light on what’s going on. has happened in recent weeks.
But NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley takes aim at the provincial government, saying it’s not doing enough to ensure savings are passed on to drivers.
She says the Alberta government needs to do regular audits to make sure the provincial tax freeze put in place in April continues to be lifted.
“I think if you were to create a legal obligation for this – if there were to be penalties associated with not transferring – and if there were to be a regular system of spot audits to ensure this was being followed , so I think those are tactics and strategies that could be used to protect Albertans and make sure they have more money in their pockets at the end of the month,” Notley said Friday.
Global News has contacted Shell, Husky (which is owned by Cenovus) and Petro Canada (Suncor Energy’s retailer) about the gas dripping allegations, but at the time of publication they had not received a response.
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In the meantime, McTeague said consumers can fight back by contacting their MPs and MPs.
“Ask them to break down the numbers. And they call Parkland, they call Imperial Oil, they call Shell.
« It’s unacceptable and they know it. I think it’s going to require wider public condemnation and repudiation, especially by elected officials.
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