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Highest fuel taxes in North America: Analyst says gas prices are going up in Metro Vancouver, again

Last Updated Mar 14, 2019 at 12:54 pm PDT

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Expect to see gas prices inch up as early as this weekend; one analyst saying tax hikes in April will push them up more

After Apr. 1 Vancouver will displace every other city and have the highest fuel taxes anywhere in North America: analyst

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Gassing up your ride is about to get more expensive — again.

They could hit as high as $1.50 for a litre of regular in Metro Vancouver as soon as this weekend — something the region hasn’t seen since November — with even more of an increase expected starting April 1st.

“Where here, of course, in Vancouver, you’re treated to two tax increases,” Dan McTeague with GasBuddy.com says.

He’s referring to a hike in the provincial carbon tax.

“So on April Fool’s Day, Metro Vancouver will see a net increase of 3.3 cents a litre, which will be permanently attached to the price of gasoline going forward.”

McTeague says after that day, it won’t matter what happens in the markets — you’ll still be paying that extra 3.3 cents

“And on April Fool’s Day, Vancouver will now displace every other city, including Montreal, as the most expensive jurisdiction for gasoline with the highest fuel taxes anywhere in North America,” McTeague adds.

Meantime, ahead of those impending increases, he says the current slight increases are mostly due to demand. As refineries prepare for higher summer blends of gasoline, McTeague says we’re seeing a “bit of a draw on supply.”

Other factors include the fact that this region relies on refineries south of the border, and in some case others internationally.

“We really do require help from our Trans Mountain pipeline which, of course, is plugged, can’t deliver any more fuel than what’s there now.”

Long term outlook; record highs?

McTeague says once the tax hikes kick in, people can expect to see about $1.55 per litre.

And if you were hoping for some relief in the long term, he warns that may not be in the cards.

“As we see normally, prices move up during the summer,” he explains.

“If we see a repeat like we did last year of the fundamentals, look for $1.60 to be the new normal for Metro Vancouver, with times where we could be as much as $1.65 or even higher. That’s a record we haven’t seen since October 13, 2018 when we had that disruption caused by the natural gas pipeline explosion near Prince George that stopped some of the U.S. refineries from being able to produce gasoline.”

-With files from Sonia Aslam