B.C. extends gas restrictions as flood emergency cripples supply lines

Drivers can only fill up 30 litres of fuel per visit to a gas station until December 14

Gas restrictions extended to December 14 | Photo: Rob Kruyt, BIV

The B.C. government is extending restrictions on non-emergency vehicles filling up at gas stations after previous orders were set to expire within a day.

The province announced Monday restrictions allowing for 30 litres of gas per visit to a station would be extended to the end of day of December 14 for southwestern B.C.

Gas restrictions set to last 10-11 days were originally imposed November 19 after devastating storms and ensuing floods put the Trans Mountain pipeline out of service and choked off highway access to and from other parts of Canada.

Emergency and essential vehicles continue to have unrestricted access to gasoline via commercial card-lock stations from Metro Vancouver east to Hope, Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

Many gas stations have programmed automatic 30-litre limits on fill-ups for regular B.C. drivers hoping to refuel their tanks. In other cases, drivers are expected to go by the honour system and not fill more than the limit imposed by the province under the current state of emergency.

“They’re [British Columbians] going to do the right thing. Will there be people that want to … [not] abide by that? Yes, there will. But the overwhelming majority of people will do the right thing,” Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s minister of public safety and solicitor general, said last week, adding those who don’t abide by the restrictions could face “a significant fine of about $2,000.”

Farnworth also said on November 19 the province has a “reduced but steady supply of gasoline” and that more would be coming in via truck and barge from Alberta, Washington state, Oregon and California. In the meantime, British Columbians are being urged to consider using transit, or else carpooling or walking to their destinations.  

A third atmospheric river bringing torrential showers is expected to hit the West Coast on Tuesday.

After being hit hard by rain in recent weeks, there’s little room for soil in the region to absorb additional downpours. That creates a greater risk of runoff hitting rivers once again and resulting in further flooding.

A total of 3,606 properties in the province remain on evacuation orders and 7,402 properties remain on evacuation alert.

Current restrictions on non-essential travel on highways 3, 7 and 99 also remain in place.