OK. Here is your math quiz for the day.  Please do not panic and give up already.

In Canada, we used to use imperial gallons for liquid products. An imperial gallon is about 4.5 litres.

In the constantly Excited States, they use a U.S. gallon which is how many litres? Did you guess about 3.8 litres?

That is about 17% less than the Canadian gallon.

So, is gasoline really way cheaper United States? Here comes the math again. Let’s say our gas is about $1.50 per litre or about $6.75 per gallon. While recently travelling in the United States, I found gasoline at $3.50 per U.S. gallon. That seems way cheaper, but remember that is a smaller gallon.

Now, we divide that $3.50 U.S. gallon by the 3.8 litres and the price per litre is about 92 cents per litre. Compare that to the average British Columbia price of $1.50 per litre and yup, the U.S. gas is way cheaper. 

Are you still with me?

Interestingly enough, the cheaper U.S. gasoline was found on the island of Maui in the state of Hawaii. Think about that.

The Americans can get our unrefined oil product, refine it, and then ship it half way across the Pacific Ocean for way less than we pay for getting it from, next door, Alberta. Small wonder drivers in B.C. are peeved. 

I am not arguing for an additional pipeline.

Recently, the CBC News carried an interesting story that broke down the costs of getting Alberta oil/gasoline into our car tanks.

Yup, here comes more dazzling mathematics.

According to the National Energy Board’s summary, the four major components that make up the price of gasoline include:

• The cost of crude oil: averages 51 cents per litre in Vancouver, or 10 per cent below the Canadian average.

• Refining costs: averages 52.1 cents per litre in Vancouver or about double the national average. This includes all the expenses involved in bringing crude from a wellhead to a refinery, and then completing the refining process.

• Marketing margin: averages 10.5 cents per litre, about 69 per cent higher than the rest of Canada. This includes all costs for getting the refined product to the consumer, including transportation, marketing and profit.

• Taxes average 53.9 cents per litre in Vancouver or 21 per cent more than the national average. A little less in the Okanagan.

So, if you have not dozed off yet, maybe we should not be so peeved with Alberta if we are getting crude below the national average? Looks like we could blame the refiners and their constantly rigged shut downs.

In Alberta, gas is about $1.10 per litre on average. They do not have a carbon tax. They are about to get one from the federal government, unless the Conservatives win the fall election?

And the carbon tax is meant to discourage us from using gasoline-consuming vehicles and to begin to get a more dramatic switch to electric or non-carbon based vehicles. Remember that all of us should have environmental concerns. 

Interesting too, that I did not see one electric or even a hybrid vehicle on Maui. Do you see what cheap gas does for you?

Remember environment, glasciers disappearing, global warming, Inuit way of life gone, rising oceans, costly forest fires — we simply cannot ignore this forever.

OK. Here comes the last of your favourite mathematics course. 

Do shop around for your cheapest gasoline station, but driving any distance to get cheap gas just sucks up the savings. If you drive across the U.S. border from Kelowna to get gasoline, you would also have to do a lot of mathematics to see if you actually saved anything.

If you include shopping in the United States, you would also have to include the cost of guilt of not supporting the Canadian economy. And maybe you are helping pay for Trump’s wall.

But, if you pay close attention to your math, calculate the track of the amount you save locally, by a little shopping around. With the savings, you could work towards a down payment on an electric car. 

Cost per litre for gasoline — zero!

And besides, I just did all the math for you.

Reg Volk is a retired teacher who resides in Lake Country. This is a monthly column.

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