Victoria residents turn to e-bikes and public transport amid record fuel prices

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As gas prices reach unprecedented levels, it appears residents of Greater Victoria are looking for other, more economical ways to get around.

Mix that in with the recent sunshine and Victoria Electric Bikes co-founder Charles Turner sees sales are on the rise.

“It’s been busy,” Turner told Victoria Buzz.

“I mean, when you look at it, your average to go 100 miles is about $18 in gas, in that area. On an e-bike, you’re about 10 cents in electricity.

British Columbia’s capital is “surprisingly bike-friendly,” according to Turner. So much so that he calls it “the cycling capital of Canada”.

Meanwhile, Michael Besler is on the same page.

The co-founder of Ride The Glide E-Bikes Inc. notes that more and more locals are opting for the bike pedal over the gas pedal.

“A lot of people want to go out more and a lot less use their car,” Besler said.

“There are definitely savings there. We have a guy who works for us and that’s pretty much all he does, ride scooters and e-bikes. He rarely drives.

Canadian Automobile Association Thursday’s data lists the average pump price in Victoria at 208.9 cents per litre, up from the average of 184.2 last week.

This breaks previous records, including the one set on February 16 when prices soared to 179.9 cents per liter – a then “unprecedented” figure, according to Dan McTeague.

At the time, the president of Canadian for Affordable Energy and a fuel price analyst said Victorians had never seen this fuel price before.

But motorists were warned that more jumps were likely, given the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine. Indeed, Russia is the world’s third largest oil producer, accounting for 11% of the world’s share.

“Gasoline is dependent on the value of oil and the supply of oil is limited. That’s not going to change any time soon,” McTeague told Victoria Buzz.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan also spoke about gasoline prices and warned that a “tough summer” was ahead, especially with international supply chain disruptions at stake.

Still, Horgan noted that the BC Utilities Commission is obligated to ask suppliers of petroleum products for their price justification.

He said public transit was a solution for those who can’t afford to refuel, noting that buses “are options if prices become too unaffordable in the short term.”

In a statement Thursday to Victoria Buzz, BC Transit said it had seen a “notable increase” in ridership this week.

However, he says many factors can affect ridership, including more people returning to work and regular activities, and less hesitation around COVID-19.

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