With gas prices in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region reaching up to $1.56.9 per litre, some residents are only driving when they need to.
Nanoose Bay resident Roger Verhaeghe said he and his wife used to go for drives just for the fun of it, but with the recent spike in gas prices, he said now he typically only drives when necessary.
“They’ve got to do something about it (the high prices),” Verhaeghe said as he pumped his truck with diesel. “These are the highest prices I’ve ever seen. I’m not too bad because I’m on diesel but it’s still high.”
Qualicum Beach resident Terry Byrme agreed that he hasn’t seen gas prices as high as they are now but doesn’t worry too much.
“We haven’t got much choice,” he said. “We don’t do a ton of mileage anyway.”
Deanna Francoeur, a Bowser resident who commutes to Qualicum Beach three days a week and Port Alberni two days a week, said the price of gas is becoming unaffordable.
“The amount I’m spending on gas is ridiculous,” she said.
Gas prices in Parksville are up 17 cents from last month’s average of $1.39.9 per litre. The British Columbia average as of April 25 was $1.55.1 per litre, up 20.6 cents from last month’s provincial average.
Deb Tardiff, communications manager with the City of Parksville, said high fuel prices affect the city and are a concern for their operating budget.
“Our fuel is purchased locally so we feel the sting of higher fuel costs, similar to all consumers,” she said.
GasBuddy.com senior analyst Dan McTeague told the Oak Bay News that companies are paying about 155 cents a litre to purchase gas so selling it any lower would mean losing a lot of money.
The high prices, according to McTeague, are due to a large demand but not enough gas to meet it.
“We’re an Island and we don’t have enough to make up what we need,” McTeague said.
“We can’t have 80 per cent of people suddenly abandon modes of transportation, your economy would come to a standstill, including the ferries.”
Halted plans on the Trans-Mountain Pipeline expansion are also at the root of the high gas prices, McTeague said.
He said the expansion is not just about building a brand new line dedicated to oil, it’s also about expanding the existing pipeline by 50,000 barrels a day.
Some Canadians are paying as much as 40 cents per litre more than the average for gas at the moment, according to McTeague.
“It’s affecting people’s decisions to take vacations, they’re having to choose between fuel and groceries, it’s a very serious matter,” McTeague said.
So far, tourism in Parksville Qualicum Beach hasn’t been affected by gas prices, according to Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism executive director Blain Sepos.
“We haven’t heard of any cancellations that can be attributed to gas prices,” Sepos said. “In fact we’ve actually heard that booking pace continues to be at, or above, last year’s levels.”
Sepos said there’s always the potential for people to reconsider their travel plans when costs increase, especially when it’s as “highly publicized” as gas prices.
“It’s too soon to say but so far it doesn’t seem like there are any indicators pointing to [gas prices] affecting us drastically,” Sepos said.