A 22-cent increase in the price of gasoline in less than 24 hours

A 22-cent increase in the price of gasoline in less than 24 hours

Surprise increases of nearly 15% in the price of gasoline at the pump in less than 24 hours are sowing anger in Saint-Hyacinthe, where motorists go so far as to point the finger at the Quebec giant Couche-Tard.

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“In Saint-Hyacinthe, last Monday, the entire city was at $1,479 a liter and the next morning the liter had gone up to $1,699 at Couche-Tard Ultramar, and at all Couche-Tard stations”, Gabriel Chartier is surprised. , a local retiree, who has been scrutinizing prices for a long time.

That’s an increase of 22 cents, or almost 15%, in less than 24 hours. Photos of support, Gabriel Chartier denounced this situation to the Registry.

“Every week, Couche-Tard is always the first to raise prices in the city,” says the former owner of the Saint-Hyacinthe airport.

“Is unusual”

In recent years, local stations that have come under the control of the Couche-Tard’s red owl have been more greedy, he argues.

Beside him, in a snack bar, between two sips of coffee, his friends were heading in the same direction as him earlier in the week. They feel like Couche-Tard across the street is running the show.

“Has no sense. It is not normal for prices to change in the same way”, breathed one of them.

“It is unusual for changes of this magnitude. Obviously here, these are margin changes,” said Jean-Thomas Bernard, a visiting professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Ottawa. (see other text to the left for the evolution of the margins).

According to him, “there is always a kind of leader” who will test the market depending on the region. “If he is too strong, the others will not follow him,” observes the expert.

“In general, the price goes down slowly. Then there are jumps that are more visible and that motorists feel suddenly, ”says the director of the Association for the Protection of Motorists (APA), George Iny.

In CAA-Quebec it is mentioned that at $1.479 a liter, it was a very good price because the acquisition cost last Tuesday was $1.53 a liter in Montérégie.

“The industry is not used to giving gifts to motorists and when such a situation arises, a significant increase in the price at the pump cannot be ruled out,” said Andrée-Anne Déry, spokesperson for CAA-Quebec.

$6 million in fines

From the Competition Office we refuse to provide information about the ongoing investigations, but we remind you that the organization has already taken strong measures.

In the last fifteen years, 33 people and a dozen companies “have pleaded guilty or been found guilty of fixing gasoline prices in Ontario and Quebec,” it says.

“This resulted in more than $6 million in fines, jail sentences totaling 54 months and a total of 300 hours of community service,” spokeswoman Sarah Brown said.

“It is illegal for gas stations to agree to set the price of gasoline,” he continues.

By the way, it invites customers and even employees of companies who have information about possible illegal agreements with their competitors to report the situation to the Competition Office.

Couche-Tard radio silence

Despite several reminders in recent days, Couche-Tard did not respond to questions from the Registry.

Esso recalled that it sold its retail sites in 2016 and that it was the operators who determined the price of fuel at the stations.

Overseas passed the responsibility to the Canadian Fuel Association (CCA), which declined our request for an interview.

On January 10, an Automobile Protection Association (APA) class action lawsuit resulted in the awarding of a $25 gas discount to customers in Thetford Mines, Victoriaville, Sherbrooke and Magog.

some figures

  • 223.6 cents: highest price in 2022 /l (June)
  • 148.0 cents/l: lowest price in 2022 (January)
  • 7.57 billion: liters of gasoline sold in Quebec in 2022, 5.8% more
  • $6.3 billion: Suncor net earnings for the first nine months of 2022 increased 147%
  • 14.0 cents/l: Alimentation Couche-Tard gasoline gross profit margin in spring/summer 2022, in Canada, up 29% from 2021

Source: Energy Council

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