Frequently Asked Questions
Click a question below to see the answer.
What is Ethanol?
Ethanol is a liquid fuel that can be blended with gasoline to burn cleaner and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Ethanol in North America is typically made from the fermentation of sugars or starches derived from agricultural crops such as corn. It is not something that is new in automotive fuels. In 1908, the Ford Motor company’s first car, the Model T, ran on corn based ethanol.
Why is it being added to gasoline?
The Government of Canada along with the Provincial Governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario have all instituted regulations that require renewable fuel blends of gasoline and/or diesel to be available at public pumps. In the province of British Columbia, regulations have been in effect since June 2011 requiring that all retail gasoline sold contains a minimum of 5% renewable content (Ethanol).
Is it in all grades of gasoline?
As of December 20, 2015, Peninsula Co-op petroleum sites will have the following ethanol contents:
- Regular Gasoline (87 octane) 10% ethanol, known as E10.
- Mid-Grade Gasoline (89 octane) 5% ethanol, known as E5.
- Premium Gasoline (91 octane) will not contain ethanol.
- Marked Mid-grade Gasoline (89 octane) and Diesel will not contain ethanol.
How will it affect my vehicle?
Ethanol blends up to E10 can be used in all modern engines designed to run on unleaded gasoline produced since the early 1980s. For normal users of gasoline, low level blends up to E10 can be used, stored and handled in the same way as petroleum gasoline. Most North American vehicles built since 1988 are fully warranted to run on gasoline that contains a 10% ethanol content.
What about my older vehicle?
Old-fashioned carbureted engines may need to be adjusted, depending on the blend. For statically tuned vehicles such as vintage muscle cars, ethanol blends may run slightly‘leaner’, meaning the air to fuel ratio may need to be adjusted.
What about small engines?
Most newer small engines, such as those in your lawnmower, snowmobile, motorcycle, boat and personal watercraft, can use ethanol-blended fuel. Due to the increasing availability of ethanol in North America, most manufacturers have made their new engines ethanol friendly. Honda, Kawasaki, Ski-Doo, Briggs and Stratton, and Lawnboy are just a few manufacturers who permit the use of ethanol-blended gasoline. Check your owner’s manual for older equipment.
Where can I get more information?
www.biofleet.net is a good website if you are looking for more information on ethanol blended fuels and the regulations in Western Canada. It is also a good idea to consult your owner’s manual or have a discussion with your automotive service technician.
Why does the price of gasoline change so often?
The Greater Victoria retail petroleum market is occupied by retailers with largely two different strategies. One is those retailers, such as Peninsula Co-op, who retail petroleum as their core line of business, and the second are those who use petroleum as a loss leader to generate traffic for some other core line of business, such as a food warehouse store.
Present frequent and significant fluctuations in the retail price of gasoline in the Greater Victoria market has been driven by various petroleum retails attempting to address their market share position. This has resulted in frequent and significant retail price changes at a time when the price of crude oil and refined gasoline products has remained relatively stable. The fluctuation in retail diesel price has not been impacted and has remained relatively stable, as has the cost of refined diesel product.
Peninsula Co-op's pricing strategy has and always will continue to be that of following the retail market price. Our small, locally owned company is not a large enough force in the marketplace to drive gasoline pricing. If we were perceived by one of our large, multi-national competitors to be engaging in a price war, their much deeper pockets would ensure they survived far longer than Peninsula Co-op. We have a responsibility to our members and staff to remain financially healthy. While all consumers may benefit in the short term by purchasing at a reduced price point, focusing on long term pricing strategies remains the focus at Peninsula Co-op as it provides much stronger financial stability for our Co-op and our member/owners.
It is important to remember that throughout the year you will sometimes guess right and purchase gasoline at a low price, and other times you may be a day late and purchase gasoline at a higher price. Over the course of a year it will balance out.
Peninsula Co-op rewards the loyalty of our member/owners for their contribution to our financial success through our annual patronage allocation. Last year, members received a 5.0 cent per litre rebate on all their fuel purchases. READ MORE >>>
How does the price of crude oil affect the gasoline price?
Crude oil is only one of the factors, in fact the price of crude oil accounts for only roughly 50% of what Canadians pay for a litre of gasoline. Other factors include:
- Taxes (Federal, Provincial and Municipal)
- Transportation costs (don't forget we live on an island)
- Refinery production costs
- Local market conditions
- North American supply and demand for gasoline
Demand for wholesale fuel can change as much as 25% between the busy summer driving months and the slower winter months. Weather events such as hurricanes affecting refinery production in the US can also change the North American supply. International events such as a political crisis in the Middle East can affect global supply, which will affect our wholesale fuel costs on Vancouver Island.
How much tax is there in a litre of gasoline or diesel?
The following Taxes are included in the retail price of petroleum: