Gasoline prices in Metro Vancouver topped $1.50 per litre this week and a poll shows many B.C. residents are beginning to try alternatives to driving.

Gas price hardship drives more to conserve: Poll

Pain at pumps spurring more walking, transit use by B.C. drivers, Insights West survey shows

A new poll has found high gas prices are causing financial hardship for a majority of B.C. residents, many of whom say they’re driving less and trying alternatives like walking or transit more.

The Insights West online survey in partnership with Black Press found two-thirds of respondents across the province have felt financial hardship from the recent rise in gas prices.

Pump prices for regular gas climbed above $1.50 per litre in Metro Vancouver this week, up more than 20 per cent since early January.

More Interior B.C. residents cited hardship – 74 per cent – even though they don’t pay the extra 17-cent-a-litre gas tax charged by TransLink in Metro Vancouver.

Insights West vice-president Mario Canseco said $1.50 per litre appears to be a psychological level where more people seek ways to cut their fuel consumption.

“We’re seeing people saying it might be better to take the bus this afternoon, it might be better to walk or try to bike – essentially not to drive,” he said.

Fifty-five per cent of poll respondents across B.C. said they’re already driving less than usual, while 27 per cent said they’re walking more and 19 per cent said they’re taking public transit more. (Twenty-six per cent in the Lower Mainland said they’re taking transit more.)

While it’s helpful that gas prices tend to spike in spring and summer, when the weather is more conducive to walking or biking than December, Canseco believes that’s coincidence.

“They’re not doing it because it’s lovely outside, they’re doing it because they’re feeling the pain when they gas up.”

The poll also uncovered refueling habits of those surveyed.

It may not sound like a winning strategy, but a large number of respondents – 38 per cent – said they’ve refueled with less gas than usual lately, possibly in hopes of lower prices the next time.

Just over half said they buy at gas stations that give them loyalty reward points, while far fewer respondents said they use a station close to home or work (20 per cent), or they buy at any station when they run low (10 per cent.)

Sixteen per cent said they don’t own a car.

The poll also found widespread belief that gas taxes are too high, that B.C. stations charge more than ones elsewhere in Canada, and 91 per cent said they believe gas stations take advantage of motorists by raising prices just before a long weekend.

“There’s a high number of people who look at the service stations as gougers,” Canseco said.

Just four per cent said they’ve considered selling their vehicle and switching to a more fuel efficient one.

Canseco said he believes that will change over time as electric car prices come down.

The poll didn’t ask the more than 800 respondents if they regularly drive to the U.S. to refuel with cheaper gas.

But Canseco said a previous poll on cross-border shopping habits showed gas savings is one of the top reasons why Lower Mainland residents frequently head south.

GAS PRICES POLL | Create Infographics

Just Posted

Manning ski operations open late Nov.

Let it snow (if you like snow sports).

Chilliwack trustee calls LGBTQ school program ‘weapon of propaganda’

Barry Neufeld published the comments on his Facebook page, contradicting board policy

Hope ER patients will receive care in mobile unit as ER undergoes renovations

The Fraser Canyon Hospital’s ER will close for five to six weeks for installation of a new machine.

Explosives clear the way for salmon at Othello Tunnels

It was a group effort involving government and private organizations.

Search continues near Ashcroft for missing Prince George woman

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

B.C. NDP convention set for Victoria

Premier, federal leader Jagmeet Singh to add energy

Silver Creek farm search expands north

RCMP were seen collecting evidence three kilometres north of the farm where human remains were found

Manning ski operations open late Nov.

Let it snow (if you like snow sports).

Development cost charges could triple in parts of Metro Vancouver under new proposal

Utilities commission chair says rates aren’t keeping up with growth

Chilliwack homeless camp dismantled on Monday

Mostly co-operative group emerged from the woods with possessions and dispersed

B.C. couple hope boat drone becomes first to cross Atlantic

Colin and Julie Angus of Victoria to have drone collect environmental data en route

Hope ER patients will receive care in mobile unit as ER undergoes renovations

The Fraser Canyon Hospital’s ER will close for five to six weeks for installation of a new machine.

B.C. casino accused of illegal activity follows rules: operator

B.C. had launched review after concerns about money laundering at River Rock casino in Richmond

Most Read