Gas prices: Montreal reaches another record high of $2.15 per litre

Montreal commuters woke up to spiking gas prices as some stations' price for regular is currently a record high and over $2.15-per-litre.

According to the website that tracks prices - GasBuddy - the Costco Wholesale pump ($1.95) in Verdun and the Petro-Pass on Cote-de-Liesse in Dorval ($1.89) were the cheapest on the island first thing in the morning.

The majority of the pumps' regular fuel price was $2.09 or higher.

Those scowling at the price tick up as they put 40 litres in their SUV may take some grudging solace in the fact that they are not filling up in metro Vancouver where prices are as high as $2.33-per-litre.

Many experts have attributed soaring gas prices to market destabilization brought on by Russia's attack on Ukraine, as well as recovering global demand as COVID-19 restrictions ease. 

Parti Quebecois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon proposed a limit of $1.60-per-litre for gas prices across the province with the difference to be paid by oil producers.

He called the gas prices "grand theft."

Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) director of operations Miguel Ouellette said that while the intention of the proposal may be positive in terms of reducing costs for families, it "ignores basic economic notions" and is counterproductive.

"With our governments' substantial taxes on gasoline - which account for more than a third of the price - and minimum pump prices that undermine competition, the 'robbery' Mr. Plamondon referred to is more likely to be on the government's side," said Ouellette. "Our elected officials should focus on eliminating the measures currently in place that artificially increase the price at the pump."

Capping gas prices without consequences, Ouellette said, was like a "Disney story." He said if prices were capped, it would force refineries in the province to stop sourcing oil at a price that would make any profit.

The MEI suggests, rather, abolishing the minimum price and provincial gas taxes.

"We currently pay about 60 cents per litre in taxes, which is one of the highest amounts in North America," said MEI public policy analyst Gabriel Giguere. "We must not forget that these taxes on gasoline are reflected in the price of food, clothing and transportation in general, which accentuates the inflationary spiral we are currently experiencing."

Revenu Quebec currently takes $0.192 per litre for gas and $0.2020 for diesel in provincial gas tax. In addition, the province's 9.925 per cent Quebec Service Tax (QST) adds around $0.21-per-litre.

Eliminating both taxes, the MEI says, would cut prices at the pump by 40 cents.