So far, Smithers has escaped a wave of gas price hikes that swept the province in advance of the long weekend and following the election of a United Conservative Party majority government in Alberta.
On Apr. 17, Black Press reported gas prices in Prince Rupert jumped 17 cents overnight. Similar increases were seen in other northern communities, but were still a far cry from the prices in other areas of the province, such as Surrey where motorists were seeing rates up to $1.70.
In Smithers, the retailers remain fairly steady as of Thursday morning at $1.29 to $1.32.
Dan McTeague, a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy, a company that provides online real-time fuel price information, said he was surprised by prices in Smithers.
“It’s a sweet spot, to be sure, because it’s costing most gas stations about $1.28 to buy their fuel,” he said. “I don’t really want to talk about it because I don’t want the five or six stations there to sort of run out and jack it up.”
McTeague didn’t know why the local retailers haven’t followed the trend, but said it’s often local competition.
And while Smithers may be in a bit of a bubble currently, he said the pain is yet to come with the new government next door.
“What Alberta is proposing is they want to get more of their oil and protect their resource, its price, its integrity,” he said. “So, they have all the right to appropriate more oil down the existing pipeline. The fact that the B.C. government is going out of its way to stop it and using all every means and every tool at its disposal really just amplifies the likelihood that there will be a showdown and the showdown is going to get pretty ugly for B.C. drivers.
He had some advice for Bulkley Motorists.
“Hint: pick up some gas today before the long weekend,” he said.