Motorists flocking to Washington state to flee Metro Vancouver gas prices

“I’d say 90 per cent of the B.C. plates driving through are coming for gas,” a member of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday. “Some of them say they’ve driven for 40 minutes and then they’ve been idling for an hour (waiting to pass through customs).”

It’s always been thus, but with gas prices in Vancouver at $1.50 a litre, going to Bellingham, Wash., where gas is 90 cents a litre, in Canadian pennies, is pretty attractive. 

In other words, you save almost $50 every time you fill an 80-litre tank in Bellingham instead of Metro Vancouver, even with a 77-cent Loonie.

On top of a supply shortage, federal, provincial and transit taxes add up to 49.3 cents on every litre. The tax on gas in Washington state is 23 cents a litre.

Those differences go a long way to explaining why, in January alone, 903,679 cars crossed into the U.S. at the Peace Arch, Pacific Highway, Aldergrove and Sumas border crossings, according to the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University. That’s the highest January total since 2015.