Higher gas prices – Vancouver is awesome

With gasoline over $2 a litre, transportation companies have been forced to make adjustments. BC Transit has noticed an increase in ridership.

Companies that rely on gasoline to do business are tightening their belts after a major rise in gasoline prices.

A liter of regular gasoline in Greater Victoria on Tuesday afternoon was selling for $2 to $2.17, with the majority at $2.09. That’s up from $1.949 last week and $1.769 per liter before that.

“We used to monitor gas prices monthly – now we have to do it daily,” said Al Hasham, chairman of Max Couriers. “I sent an e-mail informing [customers] a 3% increase in the fuel surcharge. But the actual increase is actually closer to 8%, which means we’re eating 5% ourselves this time around. We cannot continue to change our rates daily.

Hasham believes customers understand the situation globally and how it affects their costs, as he hasn’t received any angry correspondence since the announcement. It has four electric cars in its fleet of 35, which helps cushion the blow for deliveries of small items or envelopes. He said he’d like to increase that number, but he can’t find any electric vehicles available.

With some deliveries involving large and bulky items on pallets, there is no cost effective alternative to fossil fuel trucks and vans. The company tried to cut costs by making deliveries more efficient, loading 40 to 60 packages into a vehicle that had only carried 30 to 40 in the past.

At BC Transit, this year’s fuel budget is based on an estimated diesel price of $1.36 per litre, a far cry from the $2.11 per liter motorists around Victoria are paying today.

But fares aren’t going to increase any time soon, said Jamie Weiss, senior media relations and public affairs adviser at BC Transit. Indeed, although operating costs are affected by fuel prices, the transit company benefits from a reduced price under its existing fuel contract.

BC Transit has introduced 36 compressed natural gas buses to its fleet to help mitigate the impact of diesel fuel price increases, and plans to eventually transition to a full provincial zero-emissions fleet by 2040.

He says he had already seen a noticeable increase in ridership this week, before the gas price hike, and plans to monitor ridership data and trends to ensure service levels can meet demand.

According to an industry representative, rising fuel prices will not directly affect truckers or freight companies.

“Most companies operate under long-term contracts, and almost all contracts have built-in fuel surcharges” when prices rise, said Dave Earle, president of the BC Trucking Association.

“Although we pay fleet rates for fuel, the additional cost is simply passed on to the consumer. It’s just one more inflationary pressure.

However, the industry is struggling with a shortage of drivers. Earle said consumers will likely see the fuel increase reflected in their next food bill, electronic gadget, and whatever else the industry carries.

The increase will have a profound effect on the finances of BJ Roberts, who has been driving taxis for 40 years.

“It’s the little guys down there who get hurt the most,” said Roberts, who drives for Victoria Taxi. “I know what is happening and I fully support the Ukrainian people. But it’s a crazy ride with prices that keep rising.

He called on British Columbia Premier John Horgan to follow Alberta Premier Jason Kennedy’s lead in scrapping the provincial fuel tax to provide temporary relief to struggling consumers. .

Roberts estimates he now pays about $33 for the 300 kilometers he drives a week, a sum that has doubled since last year.

Because he leases the vehicle he drives from the company, the only other relief from rising costs would be if the owners lower the amount of his lease.

If you plan to reduce your dependence on oil by switching to an electric car, you may have to wait a bit as manufacturers scramble to meet growing demand amid chip shortages.

“Even before the last ride, we had three times as many inquiries about electric cars,” said Rick Rooda, sales manager for Campus Nissan. “Unfortunately, manufacturers have been unable to meet demand due to a global chip shortage. We are telling customers to prepare for a six month wait at this time. »

People looking to save money by buying a used electric vehicle will also have no respite, as these are also in short supply.

“I received five used electric vehicles today and have already sold two,” Rooda said. “It’s a real revelation.”

Nissan has been making electric vehicles since 2012, and its cheapest electric car costs $39,000, minus $8,000 in government incentives.

parrais@timescolonist.com

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Edward N. Arrington