Petroleum group wants weekly gas price review

Published on March 30, 2016

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.