Princeton’s Mayor penned an open letter to the four major holders of gas stations in his community this week, expressing his frustration at the area seeing consistently higher gas prices.
Spencer Coyne wrote to Esso, Chevron, Husky and Petro Canada on Tuesday, demanding answers as to why his municipality has been stuck paying more.
Coyne said he’s been seeing a high of between 10 to 20 cents for local stations compared to other municipalities since he was first elected.
“The community has brought it up over and over again, and lately because prices have been dropping around us,” he added. “It's starting to hurt people's pocketbooks. And it's been like this for a long time. It's just now the disparity between our prices, and nobody else's prices are getting so vast that it's almost worth driving out of town just to get gas.”
When Castanet met with Coyne on Wednesday, gas prices in Princeton were listed at 178.9.
In comparison, gas prices in Penticton sit between 162 to 165, while Kelowna sits between 155 to 159, Kamloops is averaging 158 to 162, and Vancouver is between 165 to 169.
“We've been higher than just about every other location, especially in the Okanagan. And now we're we're even more than the Lower Mainland, which has a transit tax of almost 20 cents,” Coyne added.
The mayor is also worried that the higher prices will deter holiday travellers from taking Highway 3 between the Okanagan and the Lower Mainland, instead opting for the Coquihalla.
“Our businesses depend on that highway traffic for that extra income. And if our prices are higher, nobody's going to come this way.”
Coyne said he’s been told the cost disparity is due to trucking costs.
“Which I don't buy, Osoyoos gets their gas from the same place as Princeton and that's Kamloops, and so does Rock Creek. And you're telling me that they can come in cheaper than we can?"
Princeton will soon have an independent gas station open, which Coyne said he hopes will make the change.
“They have a monopoly over the fuel system and they're using that to their advantage right now,” he added.
“At some point, we're going to have to decide on how we're going to do this if they're not going to respond to us. How are we going to show them that we're serious about this?”