Opinion: High gas prices send shoppers out of town

Nothing new to gas price disparity faced by Salmon Arm and Sicamous residents

Ernie Scheil walks along the Trans-Canada Highway in 2014, protesting the price of gas in Salmon Arm. (File photo)

We’ve been down this road before.

There’s nothing new to the gas pricing disparity we’re currently seeing in Salmon Arm (and Sicamous), in which our cost per litre is at least four cents higher than in neighbouring communities.

A snapshot of gas prices on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 13 showed the following:

Salmon Arm, 119.9; Ranchero, 115.9, Tappen, 109.9, Vernon, 112.9; Kamloops, 115.9; Kelowna, 112.9.

(Seriously – a five minute drive west or south of Salmon Arm somehow warrants a four to 10 cent difference.)

Related: Rationale for Shuswap gas prices varies

Looking east: Revelstoke, 126.9; Golden, 124.9. Those driving further east, say to Canmore or Banff, could fill up for as low as 91.9.

It’s also worth noting gas in Vancouver on Sunday was between 119.9 and 122.9. And that’s with the additional 17 cents per litre going to TransLink.

Related: Salmon Arm, Sicamous tally top gas prices in area

Again, this is not an uncommon occurrence. It happened before we had a second prime minister with the surname of Trudeau. It happened before we became entrenched in pipeline politics.

In the past, we responded to this disparity with protests and pickets, while some even looked into independent competition. And this appeared to have some effect, showing we are not entirely powerless to influence pricing at the pump. But why must gas pricing parity require such ongoing public effort?

How many times must it be pointed out that our “competitive” gas pricing hurts locals by providing further incentive for people to shop, and fill up, out of town?


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