VANCOUVER -- A decrease in fuel prices is being credited for the removal of BC Ferries' fuel surcharge right before the holidays.

The company said in an emailed statement that it was dropping the 1.5 per cent fee as of Tuesday due to cheaper fuel.

BC Ferries regularly monitors the price, and chooses to add or subtract the fee to "manage the volatility in the price of fuel." It's a system the company has used for the last 15 years.

The surcharge helps the company cover costs when prices are higher, but a recent dip means the charge has been scrapped.

"We understand that affordability is important to our customers and every bit helps," BC Ferries vice-president Alana Gallagher said in the statement Monday.

BC Ferries is looking at alternative fuel sources as well, and recently ordered four electric battery hybrid vessels. The company currently has two in its fleet.

It also has four ships running on liquefied natural gas, which it says is cleaner and less expensive.

The update is likely welcome news to travellers planning on using the ferry system over the holidays. BC Ferries expects an uptick in passengers, and announced earlier this month it would add more than 170 extra sailings between Dec. 19 and Jan. 1. 

Historically, the busiest days are from Dec. 20 to 23 on route from Metro Vancouver to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, and on Dec. 26 and 27 heading back to the Lower Mainland.