Regulate gas for predictable prices

  Gasoline is a product people rely on every day for things like driving to work, driving kids to school or picking up the groceries.
  But there’s a big consumer problem here in Ontario—pump shock.
  It’s open season on drivers. “Big Oil” companies are gouging ordinary motorists with sky-high prices at the pump and making life more difficult for working families.
Big Oil has also targeted the independents, getting rid of the competition, and driving prices for ordinary motorists still higher.
With Exxon posting a $10-billion profit this week, it’s clear that while we pay more, the oil companies simply make more.
  Consumers want gas price stability and predictability. Instead, Ontario motorists are suffering from gas price hangover. They wake up in the morning with the car running on empty and gas prices are 10 cents higher than they were at bedtime. Things are so bad customers can’t trust whether or not the price they are paying at the pump is fair.
  Motorists need help. They want the kind of gas price stability and predictability that only the province can offer.
  Dalton McGuinty promised positive change. Instead of progress, we’re seeing the same old approach—governments letting Big Oil companies get away with highway robbery.
  The NDP has a fresh idea—a positive, practical plan to bring fair fuel prices to the province of Ontario. The time has come for gas price regulation.
  Gas price regulation is all about stopping gas price volatility, eliminating opportunistic price gouging and delivering fair, stable and predictable fuel prices and lower gas prices over the long haul.
  We think that is what is best for Ontario motorists.
  Here is how regulation would work. Every two weeks, the Ontario Energy Board would determine the price of gas for all gas stations across the province taking into account the market cost of product, legitimate transportation costs and fairness to consumers.
The price remains locked in for two weeks, with some flexibility for wholesalers and retailers to drop prices.
  The benefits are many. Regulation ends wild price fluctuations. It lowers prices over the long haul by ending price gouging.
That’s why prices in regulated Charlottetown were always lower than unregulated Halifax, before Nova Scotia saw the light and move forward with regulation.
Regulation would have the added benefit of shrinking regional gas price differences. The regional price difference in Nova Scotia is about 2 cents a litre. In Ontario, it can reach 15 cents a litre.
 Gas price regulation is a proven winner. All provinces in Eastern Canada have regulated gas prices except Ontario.
The Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketers’ Association, which represents 25 percent of Ontario’s retail gas market, supports regulation. And a recent Ipsos-Reid poll found 70 pe cent of Ontarians want government to regulate gas prices.
 People from all political parties and persuasions have embraced regulation because it’s a practical, sensible, workable way to curb pain at the pumps.
It means fair, stable, predictable prices at the pumps. I think that is what’s best for Ontario consumers and that’s why I encourage all Ontarians—of all political stripes—to get behind it.
  To find out more, visit the Pump Shock Web site: www.ontariondp.com/pumpshock

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