High gas prices make it hard to shop local
When I first moved to town almost 16 months ago, Merritt seemed like a haven of low gas prices. For months the price at the pumps remained at $1.05, while prices around the rest of the province continued to climb. Then suddenly that changed.
Within a few months Merritt gas prices were over $1.30 per litre — just a few cents lower than big cities like Vancouver. It seemed like there was nothing we could do, but get used to the higher prices or drive as little as possible.
However, now that gas prices around the province have started to ease up slightly, occasionally dipping below $1 per litre as they did in Kamloops a few weeks ago, Merritt’s stagnant high gas prices have become harder to swallow.
Our gas prices are not the highest gas prices in British Columbia, but it sure feels like it when our prices are higher than prices in the Lower Mainland.
As of press time, Merritt’s gas prices were $1.28.9 per litre across the board, except at Extra Foods which sits at $1.25.9 and is the only place I put in gas in Merritt (and I encourage everyone else to do the same).
By comparison, the lowest logged prices were $1.07.9 per litre in Kamloops, $1.17.9 in Hope, $1.11.9 in Abbotsford and $1.23.9 in North Vancouver.
Naturally I was curious about why Merrittonians are paying significantly more for gas than our nearest neighbours and so I called some of our local gas stations. Understandably, I was told I needed to talk to the owners, but in some cases employees wouldn’t give me their contact information or even take a message. I was not suprised that none of the owners called me back.
I am sympathetic to the Merritt residents who have called me to complain about Merritt’s high gas prices. I agree with these concerned citizens that we at least need some sort of explanation about why there is such a difference.
The high prices are particularly harmful to the local economy at this time of year when people have the opporunity to shop locally for Christmas, but choose the convenience of Kamloops with its low gas prices instead.
Our gas stations need to be accountable to their customers, otherwise Merritt residents will continue to leave town fill up their vehicles.