Gas prices in Okanagan, Kamloops among the highest in B.C. - InfoNews

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Gas prices in Okanagan, Kamloops among the highest in B.C.

FILE PHOTO - It's suddenly costing more to fuel up your vehicle in Kamloops and the Okanagan, in spite of low crude oil prices.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
April 30, 2020 - 1:24 PM

If you pull into a station to get a tank of gas in Kamloops and the Okanagan today, you might be in for a price shock.

Prices at the pump in the region are amongst the highest in the province right now.

The price of gasoline jumped up to 20 cents per litre this week, when compared to prices in mid-April.

At last check today, April 30, here are the prices for a litre of regular in the Thompson-Okanagan's four major cities, as provided by GasBuddy.com:

  • Kamloops - 87.9 to 94.9
  • Vernon - 105.9
  • Kelowna - 103.9 to 105.9
  • Penticton - 90.9 to 105.9

Gas prices in the Lower Mainland seem to be hovering around the 80 cent per litre mark today, while in the north, Fort St. John has the lowers price in B.C. at 73.1.

Senior vice president with Kent Group Ltd., Michael Ervin says the price at the pump reflects the wholesale price of gas. The wholesale price has risen more in Kelowna than other markets such as Vancouver or Calgary, he says.

“The reason has to do with the fact the wholesale price is a reflection of available inventories at the supplying terminal. Kelowna, which receives its inventory via the Trans Mountain pipeline, appears to have declining fuel inventories compared to other centres,” Ervin says.

He says the pipeline moves both gasoline and crude oil, but not at the same time, which could result in scheduling difficulties.

The price of a wholesale litre of fuel on April 22 was less than 40 cents, but today it’s 56 cents.

“That’s why the pump prices are up. Dealers were holding off increasing the price but it jumped so much they had no choice,” Ervin says.

Crude oil prices are also up from a week or two ago, which is also contributing to higher pump prices.

The price of a barrel of Western Canadian Select rose from $4.96 on April 17 to $7.96 today, April 30.

There’s little predictability in oil markets these days.

“My best method for predicting what’s going to happen is to put on my blindfold and get out my darts and dartboard,” Ervin says.

“Seriously, though, Kelowna’s present price is a bit of an exception because of how the market is supplied and it’s distance from refineries. I would expect the disparity should be remedied in a week to 10 days."


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