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B.C. gas prices transparency rules could backfire: analyst

Last Updated Nov 19, 2019 at 1:42 pm PDT

FILE: Gas prices are displayed as a motorist prepares to pump gas at a station in North Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, May 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – Proposed legislation aimed at lowering gas prices by making petroleum companies come clean on how they come up with the price at the pump won’t work, and may backfire.

That’s according to industry analyst Dan McTeague, with Canadians for Affordable Energy, who says the Horgan government is merely playing politics.

“Unfortunately for consumers, you will continue to pay through the nose at the hose,” he says.

RELATED: Legislation aims to bring transparency to oil and gas prices in B.C.

McTeague says companies will likely fight the decision in court – and likely win – because the federal competition act prevents them from divulging proprietary information.

If the province wants to do something, McTeague says Victoria can lower its share of taxes, stop forcing petroleum companies to supply what he calls a ’boutique, B.C.-only’ blend, and approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

“If anyone’s looking for prices to drop as a result of this, I’d be more concerned that what the [provincial] government is trying to do is set the [B.C. Utilities Commission] up to become a gas price regulator,” he says.

McTeague says that hasn’t worked in provinces like Nova Scotia where companies can only change prices once a week.