September 11, 2006

Costco launches petition to prevent 3-cent surcharge on gasoline

Montreal, Quebec – Costco stores in Quebec have initiated a petition against the imposition of a three cent per litre surcharge on the price of gasoline. Customers are invited to sign the petition at any of the province’s Costco warehouses.

Each week, the Régie de l’énergie du Québec sets the minimum retail price of gasoline, factoring in the price of crude, transportation costs and taxes. In certain circumstances, it may also add three cents per litre for retailers to cover their operating costs; the surcharge is passed on to consumers. Following a new request tabled with the Régie, a decision will have to be made whether to impose the additional three cents per litre, for a third time, on the price of gasoline sold in the city of St-Jérôme for a period of 24 months.

“This surcharge penalizes all St-Jérôme consumers, be they Costco members or not, as all gas stations in St-Jérôme will be forced to increase the sale price of a litre of gasoline,” says Pierre Riel, Costco Wholesale’s Senior Vice-President and General Manager for Eastern Canada. “Quite frankly, we don’t understand why, since consumers are already clearly exasperated by the price of gasoline. It would be very simple for the Government of Quebec to amend the existing legislation; this would allow gasoline retailers intent on providing Quebecers the best available gasoline prices in this province to do so in a continued fashion. Although this regulation by the Régie de l’énergie du Québec was initially intended to protect consumers against prolonged gas price wars, it is out of touch with actual market conditions and penalizes Quebec consumers.”

Costco is inviting all Quebecers to sign the petition, which will be submitted to the Government of Quebec within the next few weeks.

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