Taxes partly to blame for Quebec's higher gas prices
Montrealers are used to paying big bucks at the pumps. A few months ago, the prices we’re seeing now, averaging $1.26/Litre, would have been good news.
But they’re hard to swallow in light of plunging oil prices.
En-Pro senior petroleum analyst Roger McKnight calls it a crude oil price war.
“The Saudis and OPEC in general are fighting for their market share, because they're getting competition from the United States and Russia,” he explained.
He says oil companies bring prices down to make money and you can see that effect across Canada.
But here in Montreal, prices are still higher -- factors include the price of crude oil, the Canadian dollar, the refinery and retail sectors and of course, taxes.
“On average, the price in Montreal without taxes is less than in Toronto or in Calgary for example,” said Sonia Marcotte, president and CEO of the Quebec Association Of Independent Petroleum Marketers.
According to the Automobile Protection Association, the higher prices at Montreal gas pumps are due to price fixing and they say motorists can make choices that have an impact.
APA director George Iny says drivers change their behavior when they sense gas prices are out of whack.
“People will buy smaller amounts of fuel. They don't want to be stuck with that high-priced fuel in the tank, and they will put off filling up. It sends a message to retailers that they should step up their game a little,” he said.
Quebec has more independent retailers than the rest of Canada, which means thinner profit margins. Still, Iny calls the current situation a mystery.
“What we're seeing now is atypical. You don't normally see the kind of gaps you have now and you don't see them being quite as durable as they are now,” he said.
And motorists need to brace themselves for another hike -- in January, the Quebec government will implement a new carbon tax that will increase the price of gas by three cents.