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LETTER: Pipeline fight could cost B.C. drivers dearly

Kris Sims is B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
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April 25, 2018 - 12:00 PM

 


OPINION


While politicians posture and feint in the fight over the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, the risks to everyday working people in B.C. are stark.

The role of natural resources like oil and gas in our modern life and bustling economy can’t be overstated. All citizens in Canada depend on oil and gas, and that dependence could become brutally clear very soon.

Alberta has introduced legislation that would give its provincial government the power to direct truckers, pipeline companies and rail operators on how much oil and gas can be shipped and when. If Alberta makes good on its threat and stops sending oil and gas through the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline, that means that a large portion of our supply will suddenly stop.

Petroleum experts are warning that it could cause gas prices to spike up to more than $2 a litre. Could we see gasoline selling for $2.50 at the pumps in Vancouver? Will there be shortages at fuel stations as they ration the supply that we can get brought in from Washington state and, ironically, brought into port in the Lower Mainland?

How would a city like Kamloops, which depends on the Kinder Morgan pipeline for all its supply, get oil and gas? The B.C. railways are already choked with long trains, often double-stacked, pulling everything from sugar to coal. It would require a huge increase in truck traffic to supply the Interior of the province with fuel.

Commuters in the Lower Mainland will be hit very hard if gas jumps to more than $2 a litre. Because housing in Vancouver costs more than in Manhattan, most people can’t afford to live there. Thousands of families live in the Fraser Valley and suburbs surrounding the city and commute to and from work every day.

The commute from Langley into Vancouver is 100 kilometres, round trip, and an average vehicle like a Toyota Camry or Nissan Rogue SUV gets about 11 kilometres per litre for fuel mileage.

With gasoline at $1.54 per litre, a commuter from Langley now spends about $14 per day, or about nine litres, just to drive to and from work. That’s $70 for a five-day work week or about $280 per month.

Looking farther into the Fraser Valley, driving from Chilliwack into Vancouver is a 200-km round trip, so a month of commuting to and from work costs about $560 in fuel.

If gas prices spike to $2.50 per litre, the cost increase to working people and their families would be staggering. A round-trip drive from Langley to Vancouver would cost $22.50, totalling about $450 a month.

If gas prices leap to $2.50 per litre, commuters will need to find a spare $200 per month under their couch cushions just to get to work.

The added costs to companies and trucking fleets that haul around all our food and supplies would need to be factored in as well, along with the enormous added costs to municipalities to run their vehicle fleets and equipment.

While politicians like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan may think they’re removed from the day-to-day cost of living because of their drivers, car allowances and expense accounts, the rest of us in the real world need affordable fuel to function, and we need to see leadership in our halls of power.

— Kris Sims is B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. For more information on this opinion editorial, please contact Kris Sims at 604-997-1798 or at ksims@taxpayer.com.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2018
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