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‘They hit all of us’: Gas thief drains vehicles on entire Burnaby street

Resident warns drivers to get a locking gas lid
gas tank
People have been in a panic about gas.

A Burnaby resident is warning local vehicle owners to invest in locking gas caps after trying to start his vehicle and finding out that someone had siphoned out all of his fuel.

Jake (who didn’t want his last name used or his specific street listed as he doesn’t want to encourage others) said that he hadn’t used his vehicle in several days due to the heavy snowfall that hit Burnaby recently.

Snow was plowed into all of the vehicles as the street was cleared and most drivers just stayed home instead of having to dig out their vehicles. After the rains came and washed away a bunch of the snow, Jake decided to use his vehicle.

“There was nothing left,” he said. “I got out and checked by gas tank as the flap was open. Then I noticed the flaps open on some of the other vehicles. I asked a neighbour and they checked and someone had siphoned their gas too. They hit all of us. I guess with the price of gas going crazy and all the snow they thought this was a good time. I don’t know what to do in this situation. Is there a point in even contacting the police?”

Gas prices have skyrocketed in Metro Vancouver, with prices at $1.76 and even higher listed.

And gas prices are expected to continue rising due to a variety of factors.

The Canadian Automobile Association notes that in addition to crude oil prices and refinery prices, local taxes and retail margins factor into gas prices. High-traffic gas stations can charge lower margins, meaning large cities sometimes have lower prices than small towns, CAA says.

Petro-Canada says gas taxes also vary significantly by province and city due to carbon taxes and municipal fuel taxes. 

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, says it can take oil producers a while to ramp up production, especially after some smaller producers shut down or went bust during the depths of shutdowns last year.

Like Gas Buddy, Statistics Canada also lists "crude oil supply cuts in major oil-producing countries" and "weather-related shutdowns in the southern United States" as factors behind the recent uptick in gasoline prices.

Statistics Canada also says there has been "a gradual recovery in global demand for gasoline." De Haan says that optimism around the COVID-19 vaccine may be one factor affecting global demand, as some countries ease travel restrictions and open some workplaces.

Statistics Canada says rising gasoline prices are one major factor behind a rise in the consumer price index. But prices for goods in other areas of the economy are rising, such as new home prices, the agency said.

  • With additional reporting by the Canadian Press