Quebec, Quebec – Quebec motorists have “every right to question” why pump prices of regular gasoline suddenly rose beyond $1.45, and to $1.49 in some cases, just about everywhere in the province on September 12 and have remained high, said CAA-Quebec.

An increase was foreseeable because the retail acquisition cost had risen, but the association said that in its opinion, there is “simply no reasonable excuse that the industry could provide to justify last Friday’s sharp increase.” Rather, CAA-Quebec said that the increase came too quickly and has since proven to be unjustified, since there was no way of knowing at the time whether Hurricane Ike would have an adverse effect on crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico near Texas. Gas station owners therefore banked on the expectations and “pocketed additional amounts by charging excessively high retail margins.”

CAA-Quebec said that the realistic price of regular gasoline in Montreal the past weekend was $1.41 per litre; a pump price of $1.49 translates into a retail margin of 12.6 cents per litre, without the consumption taxes. The association said that it believes the current high prices are due in part to a very high refining margin and an excessively high retail margin.

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