SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Prices at the pump continue to dance around the $1.60/L mark, a painful pill to swallow for many Metro Vancouver drivers.
The carbon tax is not to blame for the skyrocketing prices at the pumps according to the Premier, who is blaming another factor. John Horgan says he has been in conversation with Washington Governor Jay Inslee for months about a possible refinery.
He places blame on the Federal Government for not getting projects like this done.
“If there’s going to be public investments in the oil and gas industry, let’s invest in an end product that’s going to benefit Canadians–and that’s gas and diesel that we’re not refining in sufficient amounts to meet domestic demand,” says Horgan.
He says building a pipeline intended to ship diluted bitumen overseas won’t address that issue. Horgan adds it’s a ‘pretty straight forward’ proposition.
“Let’s make more [refined gasoline] here, creating more jobs here, and relieving the pressure–enormous pressure–on the travelling public,” he says.
“That makes a whole lot more sense than rushing to build a pipeline to send raw product somewhere else. The issue is not carbon tax, the issue is supply and again, this was an issue that was here before July, and it’s going to take everyone working together to get behind it.”
Horgan says while people like to blame the carbon tax for gas prices, it has only been raised about a cent a litre under the NDP government.
Oil expert backs Horgan
Simon Fraser University oil and gas development professor and former BC NDP deputy minister Thomas Gunton supports Horgan’s statement. When it comes to reducing gas prices, Gunton says BC needs more refining competition both inside the province and from right across the border.
“Instead of building a pipeline from Alberta to ship out raw bitumen, it would make more sense to increase some imports from the refineries from just across the border in Washington state,” he said. “If you have increased ability of those refineries to ship gasoline into the BC market then that would increase the degree of competition.”
Kinder Morgan plans to pay for the TransMountain expansion by increasing the tolls it charges oil companies to ship bitumen in its existing pipeline from $2.20 per barrel to $5.64. Gunton said the permanent increase would only lead to higher prices at the pumps.