The responsibility for the fuel pricing disparity that concerned Mission residents late last year lies with local merchants.
After writing to fuel companies with concerns over higher gas prices in Mission compared to surrounding areas, Mission mayor Paul Horn heard back from Shell Canada and also met with one other fuel company for an hour to discuss the pricing system.
“There are two major factors,” Horn said at Feb. 21’s council meeting. “The first is that the Fraser Valley region with some companies — they’re fueled differently than the Metro Vancouver region. And second is that more autonomy exists for some of the local station operators.”
Shell Mobility Canada general manager Kent Martin wrote back to Mission mayor Paul Horn on the matter on Feb. 2, with the correspondence shared at the last council meeting.
“Within the City of Mission, Shell Canada supplies branded wholesale fuels to independent retailers that operate their own (Shell-branded) sites, however these sites are neither corporately owned nor operated,” Martin wrote. “Pricing strategies at these locations are exclusively managed by the retail site business owners, without any input from Shell Canada.”
In December, the council voted unanimously to write to fuel companies about the issue of higher prices in Mission compared to surrounding regions.
Mission residents expressed to city hall that current fuel prices are often equal to or higher than Maple Ridge despite previously having a 13 or 14 cent lower fuel price.
“The explanation given to me was that essentially it’s because of a degree of independence by regional and independent retailers,” Horn said. “I was also shown that they have already in both cases defended their prices before the BC Utilities Commission.”
The mayor says he didn’t expect the letter to bear fruit but the city will continue to advocate for a more sensible approach at a regional level.
“However, I think that the consumer has a legitimate perspective in the idea that local merchants perhaps need to think about the impact of their pricing decisions,” Horn said. “If you’re not happy with the way they’re pricing, go and speak to those merchants and tell them that you’re not pleased.”
Horn said any drops in price after the letter was sent to fuel companies was a coincidence, with changes largely attributed to external factors.
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