Petroleum group wants weekly gas price review

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Gas prices

Island drivers may see gas prices become a little less regular if the P.E.I. Petroleum Marketers’ Association has its way.

It proposed reviewing gas prices, mandated by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission, from every two weeks to weekly, in a recent meeting with the legislative standing committee on infrastructure and energy.

Association member Karrie Boswall said at the meeting that dramatic fluctuations in the oil market are worse than she’s seen in many years working in the business.

As a branch manager for Island Petroleum, she says she has had to sell her gas at a loss.

“The price can change as much as four cents in a day,” said Boswall.

In a market where retailers’ margins are within the two- to five- cent range, a four-cent change makes a big difference to her bottom line.

As such, IRAC’s twice monthly price review no longer works for her.

IRAC used to review retail prices monthly. The commission then moved to twice a month.

Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker wondered aloud at the meeting when regulation begins to lose its value.

Bevan-Baker later said he would have no problem supporting the change to one-week adjustments.

Walter MacDonald, leader of the P.E.I. Petroleum Marketers’ Association, said IRAC does have a reasonable handle on the market trends and adjusts accordingly.

“Having a reasonable handle and acting on it are two different things,” added MacDonald.

Interim Progressive-Conservative leader Jamie Fox went further, saying that IRAC is “out of touch” with the market it attempts to regulate.

Fox is a former gas station owner.

Pat Murphy, MLA for Alberton-Roseville, suggested at the end of the meeting that it might be necessary for him to recuse himself from further proceedings on the issue. He is the owner of an Irving gas station in Alberton.

Organizations: Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission, Petroleum Marketers, Island Petroleum Green Party

Geographic location: Irving, Alberton

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Recent comments

  • Regular Joe
    Regular Joe
    March 31, 2016 - 16:12

    Gas is supposed to be going up 6-7 cents a liter tonight according to rumors . I'm sure you will see the petroleum Association on here tomorrow , complaining how they are earning extra 6-7 cents a liter from the cheaper fuel they have in their tanks . Any bets lol

  • DOUBLE STANDARD
    March 30, 2016 - 14:37

    So it has come to this. It was okay as long as we were and are still being overpriced, but when the profit margin starts going down they want weekly changes. Greed can be a fickle partner.

  • This Person
    March 30, 2016 - 13:55

    I don't want to sound like one of those kooks complaining about gas prices each time they change. I'm aware of futures, storage, supply and demand and so on. But gas price adjustments used to be once per month only no arguing that's the way it was carved in stone end of story. Then we saw "emergency adjustments" which seemed to become more frequent. Then official adjustments became every two weeks. Now weekly? I agree with Bevan-Baker does regulation mean anything anymore what's the point? If the prices are just adjusted but not really regulated what's the point?

  • Driver
    March 30, 2016 - 10:22

    Both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have weekly changes. If switch made to weekly review then I would have no issue provided that cannot have any changes any other day of the week. Frustrating now when have a change on a day other than on a scheduled day.

  • Regular Joe
    Regular Joe
    March 30, 2016 - 10:04

    Always talking of the loss with the price changes but they never mention the gains from having bulk tanks full of Gas bought at lower price ,just before pump price jumps 2-5 cents which they get advance notice of . Odd how that never gets brought in to the equation . Oh the poor poor petroleum dealers how they must suffer . All i can say is if you can't afford to run the business then get out of it ,it's that simple rather then place more hardship on the consumers . You want to do something constructive about this , take IRAC out of the picture for price regulation an bring on the gas wars and see how you all fair out then . The only job IRAC should have regarding Gas and other fuels is making sure stations stay within a set markup range ,there should be no limit on what your bottom price can be . Half the trouble here is no competition everyone is locked in at the same price .

    • asdf
      March 30, 2016 - 22:08

      C'mon Regular Joe, read what you wrote. You think the problem is not enough competition. Go back 10, 15, 20 years and see how many petroleum dealers there were. Many of them are gone because of the situation we are in. Some of them are on the verge of shutting down now. Would you rather see a monopoly? If you want the lowest price, shop around, that's your right.

    • Regular Joe
      Regular Joe
      March 31, 2016 - 11:03

      @asdf Shop around where everyone is locked in at the same price . As for a monopoly what do you think we have now . We have one refinery in eastern Canada . Have you ever seen an ESSO or Shell truck making deliveries at the bulk tanks in Charlottetown ..lol . As for 10,15,20 yrs ago there were lots of smaller stations around that were forced out by Greedy Corporations like the ones that are crying now in this story . Our own Government sold us down the river and sold off all it's shares in Petro-Canada . As far as I'm concerned the petroleum association got what they wanted and are now crying the blues cause it's not enough and doesn't work like they figured it would . Maybe if they got to adjust it every evening at 4pm would that make them happy I doubt it . The retailers provide no service to consumers anymore for the return they receive for selling the product . So I feel no pity for them they get their return just the same regardless of pump price . Price change works both ways some time the consumer gets a small break but more times it's the retailer that gets the big gain , when they get to sell a thousand liters at a 5 cent mark-up from the purchase price .

  • J Gagne
    March 30, 2016 - 09:59

    Business is business, if you have been to Alberta you find the cheapest gas and fill up. We are governed to death, IRAC, jobs for the rich, not required.

  • Regular Joe
    Regular Joe
    March 30, 2016 - 09:59

    Always talking of the loss with the price changes but they never mention the gains from having bulk tanks full of Gas bought at lower price ,just before pump price jumps 2-5 cents which they get advance notice of . Odd how that never gets brought in to the equation . Oh the poor poor petroleum dealers how they must suffer . All i can say is if you can't afford to run the business then get out of it ,it's that simple rather then place more hardship on the consumers . You want to do something constructive about this , take IRAC out of the picture for price regulation an bring on the gas wars and see how you all fair out then . The only job IRAC should have regarding Gas and other fuels is making sure stations stay within a set markup range ,there should be no limit on what your bottom price can be . Half the trouble here is no competition everyone is locked in at the same price .

  • mary
    March 30, 2016 - 08:45

    Karrie forgot to mention how many times they bought gas at this price and prices went up and she still has the product that she paid the lower price for and is now making a much higher profit! Works both ways! This weekly adjustment I have no problem with but it can only be better for the Irvings not the consumer!

    • asdf
      March 30, 2016 - 22:12

      Easy does it Mary, were you at the hearings? I was and the politicians there asked many questions that are not reported here in this article. Oil, like other products is part of supply and demand pricing. Do you honestly think that little old PEI has any say in the price of oil that is set by traders at the major stock exchanges? It's the same as the price of agricultural commodities with the exception of milk. The price is decided elsewhere and it's based on supply and demand. Try educating yourself Mary.

    • scott
      March 31, 2016 - 05:36

      Asdf, Mary asks a very valid question. Try answering it instead of deflecting.

  • Squirrel
    March 30, 2016 - 08:34

    I think the all Maritime Provinces s/b together with one ( 1) base price with each Province adjusting for the taxes after the base price. There is always power in #'s . In summary, get the base price & have each Province adjust for their own taxes .

  • Owen
    March 30, 2016 - 08:33

    Oh does is ever sound cute, Boswell talking about her bottom line, - etc. she is only the manager, not the owner, let's hear who really owns that company?

    • Google
      March 30, 2016 - 22:14

      Have you ever heard of Google, try it and you'll find the answer.

  • james
    March 30, 2016 - 08:19

    If you're going to do it weekly what is the point any longer? Get rid of IRAC all ready and do it like the rest of the provinces

    • Sammy
      March 30, 2016 - 13:55

      You will never get rid of IRAC. All the top position are patronage appointments... like trying to get rid of the senate.

    • Cromwell
      March 30, 2016 - 14:22

      'Get rid of IRAC all ready and do it like the rest of the provinces' While I dislike the makeup of IRAC (all 9 members are patronage appointments made by the Ghiz government to faithful Liberal supporters), both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have equivalent, albeit more effective, institutions. For me, a single entity representing Atlantic Canada is all that is required, with the only difference being the application of the applicable HST (in the not-too-distant future, Maclauchlan will impose a 15% HST). Since Irving is the only petroleum refiner in Atlantic Canada, they will continue to provide the necessary input to whatever regulatory body is in place. weekly, rather than bi-weekly, is not an imposition to Islanders, as long as there are no more 'unscheduled' price changes, since these are invariably in favour of Irving. If interested, check the 'rack prices' on PetroCanada website ('daily', 'twice-weekly' and 'weekly' gasoline prices provided) - makes interesting reading, and confirms that PEI does not need IRAC. For whatever reason, Irving disdains providing this information.