Yesterday, tensions between Tags and the Fourth Avenue Petro Canada exploded into an all-out gas war in Whitehorse.
Defying world gas prices, on Tuesday morning, Petro Canada dropped its petrol to 84.9 cents a litre – three cents cheaper than at Tags.
“This is my second time through; I took my truck through already,” said a man lining up at Petro Canada yesterday afternoon in a Chevrolet Cavalier.
Driving a car with a 52-litre gas tank, the man will save $10 by lining up.
“I’ve been waiting 10 minutes at the most,” he said.
In front of him sat an early ‘90s Ford F-150, which is able to hold about 113 litres of gas; the Ford driver may save as much as $22.
Other motorists brought along jerry cans, for good measure.
Thirteen cars crowded the Tags parking lot yesterday afternoon.
Seventeen cars were lined up at Petro Canada.
“People are always complaining that gas prices are going up and up – well now, they’re going lower and lower,” said Petro Canada employee Barmes Billay.
Gas prices are mandated by head office, said Billay. And that morning, he had been told to drop to 84.9.
“Maybe they got a sale going,” he said.
Over at Tags, staff were even more reticent.
“Prices are dropping all over the world, aren’t they?” said a Tags employee.
“We’re just competing with our neighbour,” said the Tags manager.
For more information, “talk to (owner) Mr. Sidhu,” he added.
The Fourth Avenue feud all started thanks to Tags’ promise to always keep gas three cents cheaper than Petro Canada.
“Three cent per litre discount,” says a banner hung prominently from the Tags sign.
Petro Canada, it seems, decided to take its price-fixing competitor to the mat.
“It’s a pissing match … they’re just trying to see who has the bigger balls,” said Cary Goodman with Goody’s Gas.
Yesterday, the Canadian average for fuel hovered around $1.02.
At 91.4 cents a litre, Edmonton boasted the country’s lowest prices.
At 87.9 and 84.9, respectively, both Tags and Petro Canada were losing money with every fillup.
“I’m paying more than that for that fuel – I should go down with a tanker and fill up,” said Goodman.
“It’s so far below our purchase price, it’s obviously a marketing ploy or something,” said an employee with the McCrae Petro Canada.
“I don’t know how they can do it,” he said.
The Fourth Avenue Petro Canada is owned by the Calgary-based corporate head office.
While the Fourth Avenue Petro Canada station undoubtedly lost thousands of dollars yesterday, the threat of similar price wars may force a reconsideration of Tags’ always-three-cents-cheaper policy.
By late evening, the battle seemed to have been won by Petro Canada.
At 9:30 p.m., Tags was back to selling gas at more than a dollar per litre.
Petro Canada, meanwhile, continued to churn out deep-discounted money-losing petroleum to lineups of cars.
Over at Tags, not even a moped could be seen filling up.
As of press time, Petro Canada was back up to regular price.
Tags’ sign was blank.
Contact Tristin Hopper at