At a Loonie per liter, Canadians demand fuel-price stability

| Friday, May 05, 2006

Government regulation of diesel prices in some Canadian provinces does not automatically mean lower prices, but it will provide some stability at the pumps, according to the provincial government in Nova Scotia.

The east-coast province will regulate both diesel and gasoline, starting July 1, which will hold prices steady for two-week intervals. The policy is similar to what another province, Prince Edward Island, has implemented. Newfoundland-Labrador and Quebec also have similar regulations in place.

“Nova Scotians want more stable (fuel) prices and they want to know those prices are justified,” Richard Hurlburt, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, stated in a press release.

Hurlburt’s ministry will oversee the process on an interim basis, before handing over responsibility to a third-party utility and review board.

Fuel prices in Canada have soared beyond a Loonie per liter, roughly $4 a gallon.

Hurlburt said the province needed to act quickly, and that Nova Scotians were vocal for change.

Nova Scotia’s policy will differ from other provincial regulations with a built-in interrupter formula, designed to change with the market but provide consumers, retailers, and wholesalers with a fair average price.

Consumers benefit by knowing when the prices will change.

Independent fuel retailers with benefit through stabilized buying margins.

“Certainly the world changes every day, just like gasoline prices,” Hurlburt stated. “As government, we have to continually review the situation and make the changes that are best for the public once you balance all sides of the equation.”

Other provinces, such as Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, do not have price regulations on their radar at this time, according to newspaper sources.

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