Saint-Jerome, Quebec – Costco Wholesale has announced that, following a decision by Régie de’ énergie on July 11, motorists in the region of Saint-Jerome, Quebec will have to pay an additional three cents per litre of gasoline, from July 22 to January 24, 2011. The decision, which Costco opposes, forces retailers to add operating costs of three cents per litre to the Régie’s Minimum Estimated Price (MEP).
“This isn’t a tax, it’s a guaranteed income for all gas stations in Saint-Jerome,” said Pierre Riel, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Costco Wholesale for Eastern Canada.
Riel said he feels that consumers are being penalized by legislation that is no longer relevant to the current market and is asking the Government of Quebec to update the Act.
“The sale of gasoline should comply with the same criteria of free and open competition as with other consumer products,” Riel said. “Competitive companies must provide customers with the best value for their money, period. In this case, however, gas prices will be artificially inflated by three cents a litre so as to include the theoretical operating costs set by the Régie de l’Energie. Costco feels that consumers bear the brunt of this decision. If the Government of Quebec really cares about the gas prices Quebecers are faced with, it could very easily impose a moratorium cancelling this three cents/litre surcharge in the Saint-Jerome market, and later in the fall, amend the regulations.”
Costco said that while it is forced to charge its members an extra three cents per litre of gasoline sold, it will keep track of all earnings from the surcharge and donate that amount to the Saint-Jerome Regional Hospital.