Quebec wants to create platform that tracks fuel prices across all gas stations

The Quebec government says it will end the floor price on fuel in order to reduce the cost at the pump.

Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon says that’s one of two recommendations the province is examining from a recent study on Quebec’s gas and diesel fuel market.

The study by Robert Clark, a professor of economics at Queen’s University and HEC Montréal, found that prices in certain areas – such as the Capitale-Nationale and Chaudière-Appalaches – were not consistent with the competitive gasoline market prices.

“By removing the floor price, we think that it could help,” Fitzgibbon said.

“I think it’s good to move in a good direction, recommended by Mr. Clark.”

Sign displaying price of fuel at gas station in Montreal, on Atwater Street, on May 16, 2024. (Adriana Gentile, CityNews)

The minister, however, rejected the idea of imposing a price ceiling on gasoline, saying it was not the role of the government to do so.

The second of the study’s recommendations the province is exploring: creating a platform that informs consumers about fuel price changes. Gas stations would be required to transmit their price changes daily to the Régie de l’énergie. The authority would then disseminate those prices to the consumer.

“Someone asked me if it already exists,” Fitzgibbon said. “Yes it exists, but you need to be a gymnast to be able to maneuver through that, and people don’t go through that. I went through it once, and I’m not going to go back. So I think to be more transparent, we’ll have at least the opportunity for the consumer to pick the right place to go and get the gas. And perhaps it will influence how people behave in the market.”

Fitzgibbon also thinks taxes on gasoline should be increased.

Asked why his government was not lowering taxes on gasoline, Fitzgibbon replied: “Lower taxes on fuel? I think we should increase them.”

–With files from La Presse Canadienne

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