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B.C. will require gas companies to reveal how prices are set

The provincial government has introduced legislation to get to the bottom of just how oil and gas companies set pump prices.
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 Fuel pumps / ShutterstockFuel pumps / Shutterstock

The provincial government has introduced legislation to get to the bottom of just how oil and gas companies set pump prices.

Under the Fuel Price Transparency Act, the BC Utilities Commission will have the ability to gather information from oil and gas companies on market conditions involved in setting gas prices.

Information would be made available to the public.

"It's incredibly frustrating to watch the price of gas shoot up for no reason, and British Columbians are tired of feeling ripped off whenever they fill up their vehicles," said Bruce Ralston, minister of jobs, trade and technology.

"This legislation sends a message to oil and gas companies: the days of setting your prices in total secrecy have come to an end."

The legislation came about as a result of an investigation by the BCUC that found a lack of competition and substantial markups in the market, including a 10 to 13 cent a litre premium the industry was unable to explain.

Gas companies will now be required to share data on refined fuel imports and exports, fuel volumes at refineries and terminals, plus the wholesale and retail price of gas.

"By pulling back the curtain, these companies will be publicly accountable for unfair markups and cost increases that cannot be explained," said Ralston.

"It will also produce a common set of facts moving forward, allowing us to properly evaluate other policy measures to bring fairness to the price at the pump."