VICTORIA -- Premier John Horgan has asked the British Columbia Utilities Commission to investigate why gasoline in Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island is so much more expensive than the rest of the country.

A statement from the premier's office says Horgan spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday and brought up his concerns, making it clear that gas hovering around $1.70 a litre is of national importance.

Horgan's request to the utilities commission asks that it explore why prices have shot up by 40 cents a litre in the last few months.

The premier's letter to commission chairman David Morton says historically wholesale prices have been between 2.5 and 4 cents a litre more in Vancouver than in Edmonton, but that gap has widened over the last four years to almost 24 cents a litre.

Horgan says residents in B.C. can't accept a situation where the price of gasoline -- correcting for differences in tax rates -- is increasingly out of line with prices in the rest of Canada.

The letter says Morton has the ability to conduct detailed hearings that will provide residents with the necessary evidence and recommendations for the best path forward.