Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Price of gasoline in Gaspésie : Fitzgibbon concerned

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“I think people are suffering. We see regions where margins are indeed higher. At the same time, there may be volume reasons. I don’t have the answer, but I am aware that we have to come back to it,” says Pierre Fitzgibbon. (Archive photo)

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Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon considers “eloquent” the report from the Régie de l'énergie which recently revealed that Gaspé residents often pay more for their gasoline than elsewhere in Quebec.

Questioned on the issue during his visit to Gaspé Friday morning, he said he had sent the report to the Competition Bureau of Canada and the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Industry.

Mr. Fitzgibbon also wants a specialist to analyze the report on the price of gasoline in Gaspé, but also on that of Chaudière-Appalaches and the Capitale-Nationale, which are experiencing essentially the same phenomenon.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">He entrusted this mandate to Robert Clark, affiliated professor in the department of applied economics at HEC Montréal and professor of economics at Queen's University.

It was he who found in 2006 that there had been collusion between certain gasoline companies […] So, Mr. Clark will help us see if there is something that we must change, says the minister.

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Pierre Fitzgibbon is Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy. He is also minister responsible for regional economic development. He was passing through Gaspé on Friday.

Is it up to the Minister of Energy to say “we are going to set the margin per retailer”? I don't know if we'll go that far. We will wait for the report to see. Maybe we will remove the minimum price? Maybe there will no longer be a minimum price at some point?, asks Pierre Fitzgibbon.

He says he is open. I think people are suffering. We see regions where the margins are indeed higher. At the same time, there may be volume reasons. I don't have the answer, but I know we have to come back to it.

The visiting professor in the economics department of the University of Ottawa, Jean-Thomas Bernard, notes that in the Régie's report, we can read that Gaspésie gasoline stores sell less than elsewhere in the region. province.

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Jean-Thomas Bernard is a professor in the Department of Economic Sciences at the University of Ottawa. (File photo)

The report specifies that in Gaspésie, a gas store sells on average 1.34 million liters of gasoline per year compared to 2.75 million liters elsewhere in Quebec. That's more than double.

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For Mr. Bernard, if retailers take a slightly larger retail margin than elsewhere in Quebec, it is because they sell less gasoline.

The fixed cost must be spread over a smaller volume. Obviously, those who do this, it is not connected to a charity, it is not Saint-Vincent-de-Paul. They want to get their money back and then make a profit, otherwise we close, says Jean-Thomas Bernard. This is mainly due to the nature of the demand of a low density population spread over a large territory.

The visiting professor from the University of Ottawa points out that in the Régie de l'énergie report, it is written that commercial models such as gas bar or with mechanical workshop and/or service, historically associated with low volumes of sales not gasoline stores, are over-represented in Gaspésie.

The report adds that 62% of gasoline stores in the region are not affiliated with a price center and determine themselves their prices following the market price.

The Minister of Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, indicates that he should receive the opinion of specialist Robert Clark by the end of February. The latter was not available to comment on the Gaspésie report at the moment.

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