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Gas prices fuel political action

Sicamous gas stations and their respective fuel providers find themselves once again in district council’s cross hairs.

During council’s April 12 meeting, concern was raised regarding the price of gasoline and how it costs about four cents more per litre in Sicamous than in communities a 15-minute-or-so drive away.

It was suggested the price difference was enough to keep travellers from stopping in town to fuel up.

Council didn’t agree on any action to “penalize” anyone, as suggested. Instead, they’re waiting to see how the issue is addressed at the upcoming Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention.

Of course, the sensation of being over a barrel when it comes to gas prices isn’t anything new to the community or council.

Sicamous council agreed to tackle the matter in January 2012, when it cost 124.9 cents per litre to fill up with regular in Sicamous, and 119.9 in Salmon Arm. Local gas stations responded within a week by bringing their gas prices in line with Salmon Arm’s.

Just like that.

And it stayed that way, for a while anyway.

Since the April 12 council meeting, one Sicamous gas station has dropped its price-per-litre to 113.9 cents. It makes sense that others will follow. If they do, how long this returned parity at the pump will last may depend on sustained political pressure and the efforts of local gas retailers, who understand as much as anyone how higher prices don’t help the community.

Being a squeaky wheel over fuel pricing in the Shuswap has been beneficial for Sicamous and Salmon Arm in the past. Maybe it will work for other communities when the matter is tackled at FCM. Our neighbours in Revelstoke could certainly use some support. As of Saturday, April 15, gas prices there were 130.9 cents a litre.

In fact, all of British Columbia is kind of getting gouged at the pump. We currently have the distinction of paying, on average, the second highest cost per litre in the country (127 cents). Maybe things will begin to even out as other provinces introduce carbon taxes. In the meantime, it’s just another reason why B.C. continues to stand for “Bring Cash.”

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