FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK - The Atlantic Convenience Store Association (ACSA) said earlier this week that its New Brunswick gasoline retailers are getting squeezed by predetermined profit margins, CBC News reports.
New Brunswick€™s Progressive Conservative government began regulating gasoline prices in 2006, setting profit margins for both wholesale and retail customers. Currently, the province€™s energy regulatory board limits the amount that retailers can mark-up their gasoline at five cents per liter, or roughly 20 cents per gallon. And the ACSA said that the cap is squeezing businesses.
New Brunswick gas retailers say the province's energy regulatory board needs to increase their profit margins on a liter of gasoline or it will continue to hurt their businesses.
"Our fear is that some of the stores will close or have layoffs and nobody wins when that happens," said Mike Hammoud, president of the Atlantic Convenience Store Association.
The ACSA is asking the Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) to review the margins, which it is authorized to do. In fact, in 2008, the EUB looked at the margins and decided to uphold the 5-cents per liter limit. Additionally, retailers are asking the EUB to pass along the cost of their review to the public. The last time the Board reviewed gasoline prices, it cost taxpayers more than $70,000 to keep the status quo.
Hammoud cited a rising minimum wage and other fees as placing a strain on retailers.
"We've got credit card fees that have been increasing, utilities, insurance," Hammoud said. "In reality, it's been almost all of our costs that are rising on an annual basis, where is the money going to come from to pay for all of these?"