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Rising gas prices taking toll on British Columbians: poll

Last Updated May 30, 2018 at 12:48 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

A new survey has found many British Columbians believe the price of gas is going nowhere but up

Insights West says close to half of British Columbians claim to be driving their cars less because of rising gas prices

32 per cent of British Columbians say they've diverted cash from entertainment and food to help pay for gas: poll

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Has the price at the pump got you down? Well, a new survey suggests most British Columbians think fuel prices are going nowhere but up.

The poll from Insights West suggests about 17 per cent of us believe we’ll be forking out as much as $1.85 a litre over the summer, balanced out by another 17 per cent who think the price will actually drop from its current rate around $1.60 a litre.

Of the British Columbians who took part in the online survey, 90 per cent believe “the increase in gas prices in the province is a serious problem,” and more than half of those consider it to be “very serious.”

“British Columbians are really feeling the impact of rising gas prices and they don’t seem to believe things are going to change any time soon, which has resulted in changing behaviour around driving,” says Insights West President, Steve Mossop.

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“Given all the controversy around the Kinder Morgan pipeline-it seems that the perceived linkage between the opposition to pipelines and the increase in gas prices could be the primary reason for the increase in public support of the pipeline in our last poll.”

The survey has also found the pain at the pump has force a lot of people to make changes to try and use less gas.

“We’ve got about half that are saying they’re reducing the number of times they use their vehicle or the distance driven,” Mossop says. “Those were the easy things. But about a third of us are saying they have to cut back on other things in their budget because of the increased cost of gas.”

21 per cent of people surveyed have gone as far as changing what they plan to do over their summer holidays. Of course, a number of people — 15 per cent of those polled — claim they’re opting to take public transit more often, and others have considered ditching their current car for a hybrid or electric vehicle.

“The impact is further, above and beyond just inconvenience and a bit of griping. It’s hitting the pocket book and people are taking action.”

According to the survey, a quarter of people are choosing to buy less gas each time they go to a gas station, and close to 20 per cent are driving into the states to fill up there.

The survey also shows 3 per cent of people are so annoyed with the situation they’ve complained to their local MP or MLA.

(Courtesy Insights West)

Pointing fingers

Mossop says the most interesting finding, in his opinion, is who people are putting the blame on.

“If we look at finger pointing and people are speculating as to who’s to blame for the gas prices increasing. We have government taxes is the obvious culprit, you know 90 per cent of us,” he says. “But really that’s not causing an increase, because they’ve really been there all along, and the increase that the NDP put in is fairly minimal.

“But we do have sort of conspiracy-minded individuals who say oil companies are simply trying to make higher profits, with 90 per cent of British Columbians believing that is the reason for increases in gas prices.”

He says another thing that stands out is how many people are linking the uncertainty around Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion project and increasing fuel costs.