The reaction of drivers in Burnaby and beyond to the B.C. gas restrictions was predictable, but it’s incredible when you see it happen up close.
Drivers lined up at some gas stations as they rushed to, ahem, get their fill after being told they could only buy 30 litres at a time.
Friday night was a gong show in many parts of Metro Vancouver and some people posted on social media about certain stations actually running out of gas.
And so I went to see for myself on Saturday morning. I parked at a gas station on Hastings and watched as people filled up. After the drivers left, I would check the pumps to see if they had kept their purchase to 30 litres.
Out of 30 drivers, just six kept their purchase to 30 litres – most went over the amount despite the signage that had been posted right on the pump.
One guy driving a large SUV was pumping a lot of gas and so I wandered by and pointed to the sign, asking if he knew about the restrictions.
He told me to go “f*** myself” and went back to pumping gas.
“I need more gas,” said the rude driver. “I don’t care what they say. They can’t force me to play ball.”
That is some entitlement amid a crisis caused by mass flooding caused by climate change. In response, drivers suddenly said to themselves, “Hey, I’m going to drive more!”
The recent new limit on gasoline purchases for non-essential vehicles is a laughable policy; it also shows how little our elected officials know anything about human behaviour and tools available at their disposal if they truly need to make an impact,” wrote NOW reader Tim Chu.
That’s a fair point. It was never going to end well unless the gas pumps were reprogrammed to stop at 30 litres.
Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s minister of public safety and solicitor general, said on Friday that access to gas will be prioritized for emergency and essential vehicles, granting them unrestricted access to gas using commercial card-lock stations. Non-essential vehicles used by average British Columbian will be restricted to 30 litres of gas per visit in southwestern B.C. (from Metro Vancouver east to Hope), Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.
Farnworth said the gas restriction will be on an “honour system”.
“They’re [British Columbians] going to do the right thing,” Farnworth said with optimism. “Will there be people that want to … [not] abide by that? Yes, there will. But the overwhelming majority of people will do the right thing,” he said, adding those who don’t abide by the new restriction could face “a significant fine of about $2,000.”
“We can’t have a police officer at every gas station.”
Farnworth said the province has a “reduced but steady supply of gasoline” and that more would be coming in via truck and barge from Alberta, Washington state, Oregon and California.
In the meantime, he’s urging British Columbians to consider using transit, or else carpooling or walking to their destinations.
- With files from Tyler Orton, Business in Vancouver