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I Introduction

A. Mandate

On April 19, 1996, the Legislative Assembly passed a resolution "That Whereas there is a general dissatisfaction with the level of gasoline pricing in New Brunswick compared with neighbouring jurisdictions; Be it therefore resolved that this House appoint a Select Committee on Gasoline Pricing to examine, inquire into and make recommendations to the House with respect to gasoline pricing in New Brunswick . . ." The full text of the resolution is provided in Appendix A.

The resolution was introduced in response to public concern that gasoline prices in New Brunswick were not reflecting the Province's relatively low rate of motor fuel tax. The resolution reflects the importance to New Brunswickers of access to fairly priced motor fuel.

B. Public Hearings and Data Collection

The Select Committee on Gasoline Pricing has undertaken extensive research and conducted public hearings. All gasoline industry interests were represented at the hearings. So to, were a variety of representatives from the Federal government, other provinces and our own Province. A list of presenters at the hearings is provided as Appendix B. Exhibit 1 summarizes the other research undertaken by the Committee.

C. Interim Report

An Interim Report was issued by the Committee and tabled in the Legislature November 29, 1996. The Interim Report provided the preliminary analysis and conclusions of the Committee as well as a range of options then under consideration by the Committee. The Interim Report was issued to stimulate input from all industry stakeholders. Feedback on the Interim Report was provided by the organizations listed in Appendix C.

D. Final Report

This Final Report embodies all of the statistical data presented in the Interim Report as well as an Appendix D which contains additional data and analyses undertaken by the Committee. This final Report provides the Committee's recommendations.

E. Acknowledgements

The Committee wishes to acknowledge the efforts of all parties that appeared at the public hearings and provided feedback to the Interim Report. The research and analysis that went into the presentations was extensive and greatly appreciated. The staff of the Department of Natural Resources and Energy who have provided research assistance on a highly responsive basis are also to be commended. Finally, the Committee is grateful for the cooperation and assistance of officials in other provinces who shared information and facilitated this undertaking.

Exhibit 1
Summary of Research Undertaken by the Committee

  • Price comparisons including and excluding taxes for major centres by province across Canada, by major centre within New Brunswick, within Maine at selected border points and for selected States of the U.S. as well as national averages, from 1989 to 1996.
  • Comparison of provincial average prices where available.
  • Federal and provincial fuel tax comparisons across Canada and with Maine from 1989 to 1996.
  • Retail margin comparisons for all major centres across Canada from 1989 to 1996.
  • Refiner marketing costs and margin comparisons for all major centres across Canada from 1989 to 1996.
  • Comparison of prices and margins and the price of crude.
  • Structure of the New Brunswick industry including number of outlets by brand.
  • Marine and truck transportation costs by location in New Brunswick.
  • Impact of volume on cost per litre.
  • Review of oil company profitability data.
  • Profile of relevant provincial and federal regulations across Canada.
  • Profile of regulatory strategies and related studies in selected U.S. states.

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