The current economical climate in the United States and Canada is pretty precarious. With rising inflation, and the increase in gas prices, your average America does find it pretty tough to live. Most citizens usually look to adjust by finding alternative ways. However, some of them refused to budge from their ways. Incidentally, a motorist sued oil companies for the rise in the prices of gasoline. From the province of British Columbia in Canada, this individual believed that the companies were the root of the problem. Some can consider the thought to be quite a trigger-driven one, but the impact can be far-reaching.
The motorist Antonio Pantusa went on to file a class-action lawsuit against the companies he considered guilty. Now, he wasn’t the only one filing the lawsuit as he had included others too. The lawsuit points a finger at several big players: Suncor Energy Incorporated, Parkland Fuel Corporation, Imperial Oil Limited, Husky Energy Incorporated, and Shell Canada Limited.
The motorist believes that these companies are the reason behind the unconscionable pricing practices. As it stands, the province has had pretty high prices of gas- which have been increasing exponentially. In his defense, his attorneys claimed that the companies had been overcharging the customers. And not only that- they were also passing on the costs to his drivers.
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The companies named in the lawsuit are all major refiners as well as wholesale marketers of most of the gas sold. Pantusa went on to seek damages that would compensate for the prices that he had to pay. He also mentioned that the increase in gas prices in the state had taken place since 2015. To substantiate his claims, he provided documents regarding the other drivers. In his notice of a civil claim, the plaintiff also mentioned that the defendants had been abusing their power. Since they were in control of the market of gas, they were pushing through two surcharges. With the case in court, the plaintiff tried to clear it as a class proceeding.
The attorneys representing the gas companies naturally claimed that Pantusa was making meritless statements. After this, the same companies submitted evidence as to how they calculated their gas prices. The judge summarized that “prices are generally tied to local benchmarks at major American trading and production hubs.”
He further mentioned, “The Pacific Northwest spot price is the main determinant of wholesale prices in the Vancouver area, but elsewhere in British Columbia prices are set based on the spot price at other hubs, such as Chicago or the American Gulf Coast.”
Pantusa Couldn’t Convince The Courts That The Increase in Gas Prices Was A Ploy By The Big Companies
The attorneys for the gas companies also put in their points.
“Although wholesale prices are based on local rack rates, wholesale customers usually negotiate lower prices based on their own particular circumstances. These contract prices are generally not published and never shared among the defendants. The defendants have varying involvement in the retail market. Some of them supply affiliated retail gas stations, where retail prices are generally set by independent operators at those sites.” 
Needless to say, this case spilled beyond the borders and attracted the attention of the elites in the country. Several economists weight in and the judge finally applied the certification test. This test includes several criteria that a case must meet to ensure a class proceeding.
But on the 2nd of March, Pantusa’s efforts met with failure. The judge sided with the defendants, stating that there was no evidence. There was absolutely nothing to support the motorists, “pleased allegations of conspiracy… or the related claim alleging a breach of the Competition Act.” Warren B. Milman, the Justice for the case also stated, “Indeed, the defendants’ uncontroverted evidence expressly refutes those allegations, as do the BCUC reports.”
While Pantusa’s protest against gas prices ended up in flames, it was not beyond reason. In metro Vancouver, the price of gasoline reached beyond $2 per liter (approx $7.50/gallon).
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