VANCOUVER -- The B.C. energy ministry says the province's utilities regulator now has a new tool to increase transparency in fuel prices.

The ministry says in a news release that beginning Monday, the B.C. Utilities Commission can make special requests for information from oil and gas companies under the Fuel Price Transparency Act.

The utilities commission can collect information including refined fuel imports and exports, fuel volumes at refineries and terminals, and wholesale and retail prices.

The Act was developed after an inquiry into B.C. gas prices that found a lack of competition and substantial markups in the market, including a 10- to 13-cent-per-litre premium that industry was unable to explain.