It's rare that you'll ever find people who aren't complaining about gas prices, because let's be honest, no matter where you go, gas is typically pricey. There's no way around it. So besides being frustrated with having to pay so much, drivers don't look much further into the issue.
TL;DR The Quebec Energy Board has been using the incorrect calculations to enforce a minimum price on gasoline in the province. The provincial government has been charging 15 to 20 cents higher for gas than it should be. More details below.
But what if we were actually being ripped off every time we filled our car up with gas? Well, you might just want to be a bit less trusting of the Quebec government.
The law that sets gas prices has led to overcharges since 2007, according to an explosive report from CTV.
A regulation created by the provincial government back then that made it mandatory for every gas store in Quebec to first run any price changes by Quebec's Energy Board.
The Energy Board is also able to limit the price on gasoline according to the price of oil. This is meant to ensure that stations make a profit while also protecting consumers from unreasonable prices – at least, that's how the law is supposed to work.
This is where the problem happens. It looks like Quebec totally messed up the numbers.
The price of oil is determined in part by its origin; oil from one region of the world will have a different price than oil from another region.
But the Quebec Energy Board has set prices using calculations based on a single point of extraction, West Texas Intermediate. Well, it turns out this is not where most oil and gas in Quebec comes from, according to CTV.
What does this mean? It means that the government's minimum gasoline prices are as much as 20 cents more than what the law would otherwise demand.
Oil from Western Canada, which now supplies Quebec, is actually cheaper than oil from other regions, meaning that the price set by the Energy Board is inflated.
So, yes, we've all been getting ripped off by Quebec. You might just want to pay closer attention to gas prices next time you need to stop at a station in the province.