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I Introduction

A. Mandate

On April 19, 1996, the Legislative Assembly passed a resolution "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 as well as a variety of government representatives from the Federal level, 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. Objectives of Interim Report

This interim report has been issued to stimulate input from all stakeholders on the preliminary conclusions contained herein, and the various recommendations under consideration by the Committee. This report provides the highlights of the Committee's analysis to date, the preliminary conclusions of the Committee, as well as the range of options it is considering as it formulates recommendations. The Committee encourages public and industry stakeholder input to ensure that its deliberations have had the benefit of all relevant information before a final report is issued. Comments may be directed to the Committee through the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly and should be received prior to January 15, 1997.

D. Acknowledgments

The Committee wishes to acknowledge the efforts of all parties that appeared at the public hearings. 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 all major centres 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.

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.

Wholesaler/refiner 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 United States.

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