Dramatic Rise In Gasoline Prices

FTLComm - Tisdale - Friday, March 29, 2002
Melville and Tisdale have for reasons only the inscrutable oil companies understand have continued to enjoy lower gasoline pump prices than the rest of the province and when prices do go the last places for the raise to occur is in these two centres.

Most of the province saw gasoline prices jump from the high sixties to mid seventies last week but that change did not occur until yesterday afternoon in Tisdale when the price went from 68.9¢ per litre to 73.9¢ which amounts to a 7.25% hike. If you happen to drive a mini van that would be $3.50 increase in the cost of a tank of fuel.

There is absolutely no reasoning behind gasoline price fluctuation, it does not relate to supply and demand, it does not relate to speculation and concerns for long term supplies nor does it relate to government taxes. The price of fuel is completely arbitrary and is established as a whim by the oil company executives as they attempt to gain market share from one another.

The main reason for the rather depressed Saskatchewan and Alberta economies as reflected in their budgets in the last two weeks is because oil prices have declined considerably and with Alberta as Canada's number one supplier and Saskatchewan as number two, this decline hits government revenue particularly hard.

Chewing gum and politician's speeches are facial physical exercise and we should not be so naive to believe that anything either government is doing or not doing has any affect on their economy. The drought which affected both provinces affects the rural people and their communities but with both provinces now so dependent upon resources for revenue and only the tiniest fraction of their population being affected by agriculture, the reduction in rural income plays no major part in the big picture of Alberta or Saskatchewan.

The oil industry has always been dominated by American companies and though Petro Canada was an interesting attempt by Trudeau to break up this foreign control of Canadian energy as was Saskatchewan's Petroleum crown corporation both have been for political and not economic reasons eliminated as publicly owned companies.

It is a remarkable coincidence that the price of gasoline should go up yesterday with the announcement today that the major ethanol production plant is going to be established in here in Tisdale. This is one of the cornerstone objectives of the Calvert government's budget delivered on Wednesday with tax and public money being earmarked to establish this alternative synthetic fuel economy in Saskatchewan. We will have much more on this development when more information is available, but clearly we are seeing some attempts at change taking place.