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CANADA -- Prince Edward Island's regulated gas system has not meant lower prices for motorists, a Nova Scotia consultant said in a CBC News report.
A study by Michael Gardner's firm has found that Prince Edward Island consumers have been historically paying more per liter than people in neighboring provinces.
Gardner's firm was hired by the Nova Scotia government to explore why rural gasoline stations were closing, according to the report.
As part of its research, Gardner Pinfold wanted to explore a regulated pricing system, choosing the system administered by Prince Edward Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC).
Prince Edward Island consumers came out on the losing end when domestic prices were compared to the open-market prices charged in Nova Scotia, reported CBC News.
"On average, over time, there's a cent, a (1.5-cent) per liter difference in the price that can't be accounted for by, say, transportation or other factors," Gardner told CBC News.
IRAC is credited with sheltering consumers from the price volatility experienced elsewhere, meaning Island consumers don't witness the weekly -- sometimes hourly -- rises in prices seen in Nova Scotia, according to the report.
However, Gardner pointed out, Island drivers don't see the rapid drops that occur during price wars in other markets.
"It would seem that the open market, the unregulated system, offers a slight advantage," Gardner told CBC News.
Newfoundland and Labrador also has a regulated gas system. The Petroleum Pricing Office sets gas prices on the 15th day of each month, but has made frequent interruptions since the summer to account for what it calls extremely volatile changes in commodities markets.
IRAC also made adjustments to Prince Edward Island's pricing system as hurricanes hit the United States.
Petroleum retailers reap the biggest benefits from the Island's regulated system, reported CBC News.
Gas stations in Prince Edward Island have a guaranteed margin under Iran's system, receiving between 4 and 5 cents for every liter of gas sold.