Gas price jump

05.06.04

Tuesday shocked a lot of people, myself included, when gas prices on the island of Montreal skyrocketed to 94.9 cents per litre.

We’d been warned that prices may hit the dollar mark for a while, but they seemed to be comfortably in the seventies and low eighties for quite some time. I remember that when I bought my car in 1998, my first tank of gas cost 47.9 cents per litre. That means the prices have nearly doubled in just 6 years!

Worst of all, there seems to be no apparent justification. After all, prices are much lower off the island, and even more so in Ontario. Crude oil prices haven’t been that volatile, and besides, decreases in crude oil never seem to lead to simultaneous lowering of prices at the pump. There’s just no way that the real cost of gas jumped more than ten cents literally in the course of a single afternoon!

Sure, a lot of it is due to taxes. And I do support gasoline taxes to subsidize public transit, to an extent. However, with all this extra tax that motorists are paying, where are the improvements to public transit? I’m still waiting to see any evidence of them. Aside from a giant hole in Laval where a metro is eventually supposed to go, the public transit system hasn’t seen much of an overhaul… plus, the price of bus tickets keeps rising too. So where is all the money going? Certainly not to road repairs, as anyone who’s fallen in a typical Montreal giant-sized pothole this month can attest to.

Turns out I’m not the only one who’s fed up. Despite reports which seem to argue that price-fixing and collusion don’t exist, most of us strongly suspect otherwise. CAA Quebec started an online petition, which like most online petitions will have no appreciable effect besides allowing people to vent. They’re also urging people to limit consumption, which is a great idea in theory but not-so-convenient in practice. In the past, consumers tried boycotting certain gasoline companies, or mounting large-scale “gas-free days”, but none of it has worked.

Seems we’re all held hostage to gasoline prices, and there’s nothing to do but suck it up and shell out the cash.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 DaninVan 05.06.04 at 5:06 PM

Yeh, 94.9 in Vancouver also. I’m outside the city and it’s 86.9 here.

Reply

2 Hanthala 05.06.04 at 7:52 PM

The pricces are exhorbitant but I have to say that if you bought your gas for 47.9 cents a litre in ’98, its because prices had gone down in the late ’90s. In ’92 and ’94 I worked as a cashier in a gas station for a few months and prices never dipped below 59 cents a litre. In fact, in ’94 it was more like 69 cents.

Reply

3 Realist 05.06.04 at 11:00 PM

Explanation:

Gas prices are very market oriented. Quebec is more expensive because the tax is high and we consume a lot of it.

People didn’t drive as many SUVs in the 90s and it seems that engines are getting bigger and more powerfull (ie: gas guzzling).

Yes supply has dopped from OPEC, but they are doing it because they don’t want to run out of gas any time soon.

The blame is really on the consumer. If people didn’t drive cars so much, the demand wouldn’t be there and the prices would plummit.

Pissed with the price? Hedge against it, go invest in Big Oil.

Reply

4 Knave 05.07.04 at 5:00 AM

Frankly, I don’t have a problem with the gas companies gouging. It will just encourage more appropriate transportation choices in the future.

Reply

5 David 05.07.04 at 2:31 PM

89.5 here this morning in Toronto.

Reply

6 DaninVan 05.07.04 at 10:14 PM

Knave;
hold that thought when the GVRD and municipalities raise your property taxes to cover their 20% increase in fuel costs, and that’ll be HUGE!
Same for Public transit…diesel fuel, remember? There is no escaping from this, it effects EVERYTHING. Expect a signicant increase in grocery prices, service costs, and anything else that has to physically get from A to B.
If you were expecting interest rates to stay down, fergetit. All the above will force the rate of inflation UP taking interest rates with it.
…but that’s ok, eh?

Reply

7 DaninVan 05.07.04 at 10:15 PM

Oops! make that ‘significant’.

Reply

8 Peter 05.08.04 at 3:08 AM

Freedom is not owning a car.

Reply

9 DaninVan 05.08.04 at 4:16 AM

It’s not freedom when you need the car to transport material and equipment in order to earn a living.

Reply

10 Knave 05.08.04 at 10:06 AM

Same for Public transit…diesel fuel, remember? There is no escaping from this, it effects EVERYTHING. Expect a signicant increase in grocery prices, service costs, and anything else that has to physically get from A to B.

I don’t have a problem paying the true cost of an item, and perhaps a bit more if that item required using fossil fuels at some point in its creation or distribution.

But… at the end of the day, a 20% increase in the price of fuel will always cause less than a 20% increase in other commodities. And frankly, gas is really too cheap at the moment.

Reply

11 Knave 05.08.04 at 10:07 AM

It’s not freedom when you need the car to transport material and equipment in order to earn a living.

If your living involves trashing the environment, perhaps you need to find a new occupation.

Or… more likely, you’ll find a way to economize on the transportation aspects of your occupation.

Reply

12 DaninVan 05.09.04 at 5:19 AM

Please remember that comment, Knave, when your fridge craps out or you need your roof replaced, eh.
But no point in contacting me, I don’t commute.

Reply

13 Knave 05.10.04 at 9:24 AM

When my fridge craps out, I will be happy to pay a surcharge for the gasoline that will be used to deliver a new fridge to me… whats the problem here?

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: