With gasoline currently costing 30 cents a liter less in Ontario than in Quebec, the debate over dealer profits is gaining momentum.
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“Quebec’s gas stations are pocketing a lot more than Ontario’s right now,” says Jean-Thomas Bernard, an economics professor at the University of Ottawa.
Yesterday, the lowest price at the pump was $1.51 a liter in Ontario, compared to $1.79 for Quebec, according to specialist website GasBuddy. 28 cents difference per liter.
It’s a little less if you compare the provincial averages, which were $1.772 there yesterday, according to the CAA, to $1.933 here.
Despite the decline
Although the price at the pump in Quebec is slowly falling, it remains very high. The Proof: As soon as you see it at less than $2 a liter, you think you’ve gotten a bargain.
But it could be a lot cheaper. The real problem lies in the share that is taken over by the dealers, i.e. the petrol sellers.
“There are dealers who have to leave the house in the morning with a very big smile,” illustrates Mr. Bernard.
Her own daughter, who lives in Gatineau, takes the opportunity to recharge when she visits her father in Ottawa, which she has never done before.
Reduced tax in Ontario
Unlike Quebec, Ontario recently reduced its provincial gas tax by 5.7 cents per liter.
This explains only part of the marked difference between the two provinces.
The price of a liter of gasoline has roughly two components: that of the market and that of the state.
The market determines the price of crude oil worldwide. The price has melted recently, albeit not at the pump. However, the price of a keg has been slowly increasing for a week.
Then there is the refining margin and finally the dealer margin.
The state has an excise tax, a sales tax, and a carbon tax.
“The price is the same everywhere in Quebec and Ontario, apart from the dealer margin,” says the University of Ottawa economist.
A 40 liter tank is currently $6.40 more than the pocket of a gas station owner in Quebec.
“We could easily pay less. The size of the sales margins is enormous! ‘ the old business veteran insists.
And make no mistake about his opinion: retailers are often also distributors, as in the case of Suncor with Petro-Canada.