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Thursday, August 22, 2019
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Home News Four cent gap separating Fort St. John gas stations

Four cent gap separating Fort St. John gas stations

Once again, it pays to shop before you buy gasoline at Fort St. John’s filling stations.

Heading into the last holiday weekend this summer, our nine station local monitor has turned up five different posted prices, albeit with a low to high end differential, of only four cents.

For the second day in a row, the survey prices this morning, ranged from $1.29.9 to $1.25.9, but they were all still well above the provincial average, which was cited in the Gas Buddy-dot-com monitor at $1.19.1.

That in turn remained the highest average price among the provinces, but Nova Scotia, which earlier this week, dropped below a dollar a litre, had lost its position at the low end of the cross-country comparison chart.

Instead it was one of five provinces sharing that honour, all with average prices near $1.02 a litre.

Curious about what happen in Nova Scotia, the province which for nearly a decade has had government regulated gasoline prices, we went to a familiar expert source, for what the late journalistic icon, Paul Harvey called, the rest of the story

This is Gas Buddy dot com senior analyst, Dan McTeague.

“Nova Scotia Imperial closed the last refinery in Nova Scotia. Now they rely on external exports for gasoline, they had to come in by ship. The two ships that came in had what’s called winter spec gasoline. That doesn’t happen until September 15th. 90 per cent of all gas stations went dry for four days throughout all of Nova Scotia. Then the regulatory board there made a decision to drive prices even lower

They went seven, eight, nine cents below the market and every wholesaler, every ship basically said ‘we’re not coming there, you’re not paying us, we’re not going to pay your stupid regulatory rates’ because that doesn’t reflect the New York harbour number. Of course the bureaucrats in Halifax know better, and the industry turned around and said we’re going to move this down to New Jersey where we can get the price that we’re looking for. Too bad, so sad, you’re out of product.”

Meanwhile one year after crude oil prices tanked, volatility remains the best word, to describe the global state of the oil and gas industry.

That means, in the short term at least, Canadian motorists should brace themselves for very little gasoline pump price relief, and McTeague still believes the primary reason for that, is decades of ill-advised refinery closures, including one in this area in Taylor, in 1991

“You’ve got to know that a refinery like that which was built in 1960, it wasn’t that old, it was only a 30 year old which could have been upgraded and you wouldn’t have to rely on Edmonton and the tariff rates. It would have been a lot easier if we had some of these refineries weren’t around.

I guess the economics weren’t there but they certainly are now. It’s a really good time if crude prices remain where they are and gas prices hold where they are, I can’t see why smart investors wouldn’t be getting back in the business of refining gasoline. There’s plenty of opportunity and it’s not like Canada is going to lose it’s demand for gas in the future, especially in British Columbia where were down to one and a half refineries. There’s a small, tiny one in Prince George run by Husky and the slightly larger one by Chevron but at the end of the day they don’t produce enough to meet the domestic needs, and British Columbia’s needs. I can tell you the Americans line up for any gasoline we can produce at a higher price.”

Mr. McTeague also still believes, that because of our lack of refining capacity Canada is the victim of America’s, crude oil, over supply problem.

“We have energy futures markets being run by financial speculators based on rumour, based on innuendo, based on suspicion, but not based on fact. I think the roller coaster is going to go right until we hit the point sometime in October when US oil inventories hit over half a million barrels in all the wells they can find and that will send a very strong message. Sooner or later the message has to sink in that the world is over supplied in oil.”

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