Squamish gas stations 'taking advantage' of drivers, mayor says
Many Whistler-bound drivers like to stop for gas in Squamish to enjoy a slight discount at the pumps – but are they actually getting a deal?
Even though local gas stations frequently charge a few cents per litre less than their counterparts in Metro Vancouver, Squamish Mayor Patricia Heintzman thinks motorists in her community are over-paying.
"The town's getting really angry about it, actually," Heintzman said. "It's ridiculous. It's unfair. It's punitive to our local citizens."
That's because gas stations in Squamish aren't subject to Metro Vancouver's 17 cent TransLink tax, which ends up costing drivers in Vancouver and its neighbours an extra 11 cents a litre in total taxes.
So why are motorists in the scenic Sea-to-Sky community only saving a few cents? None of the gas retailers would comment on the prices for CTV News.
Heintzman believes they should be charging the same prices as Abbotsford, another city that doesn’t pay the TransLink tax. Instead, drivers in Abbotsford routinely pay six to eight cents less per litre than they do in Squamish.
"There's only one way to explain it: They're taking advantage of the fact people come up this corridor and they always fill up in Squamish to get to Whistler and back," Heintzman said. "And the local people suffer."
As a result, the after-tax price for gas in Squamish is the highest in all of B.C.
The mayor has lobbied the provincial government to step in, but said she's received no help.
"They all sort of shrug their shoulders and say there's nothing we can really do about it," she told CTV News.
Instead, she's decided to take her complaint to the federal Competition Bureau, an independent agency that enforces the Competition Act and other consumer protection legislation.
Heintzman is confident the Competition Bureau will look into gas prices in her city. But in the meantime, Squamish locals have no choice but to keep paying what they're charged.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson
Watch CTV News every night this week for our Pumped Up Prices series. On Wednesday, we look into how Costco is able to undersell the competition by 10 to 25 cents a litre.