Nelson is down to two working gas stations while Shell is under construction and Petro-Canada has temporarily run out of gas — one of 110 locations in BC and Alberta affected by a Western Canadian gas shortage.
“What’s happening at Suncor looms large in many places across Canada. In this case one of their principal refineries from Alberta that serves the Alberta and BC markets has been down for the better part of a week and a half,” said consumer advocate and former MP Dan McTeague of Gasbuddy.com.
“The company said operations should be back by the end of the week, but even if that’s the case it will take several days to get back on track and start shipping it out to gas stations.”
So should people be panicking?
“No, there’s no reason for panic. If anything, it brings back the old adage ‘the only thing to fear is fear itself.’ There’s plenty to go around and the vast majorities of stations in most communities are not having any difficulty.”
McTeague said the situation demonstrates the need for a weekly petroleum inventory report — which is required in the US and used to exist in Canada. When he was working as an MP he saw it “killed by the Conservative government.”
“Most of these companies are parented in the US, so I can’t see why that would be a problem. It’s not going to prevent a breakdown, but it will give us a lay of the land so we can understand and anticipate these sorts of situations. Because we’re seeing shortages every year.”
McTeague said gas prices will continue to go up, but that “has absolutely nothing to do with with the gas shortage and everything to do with what’s happening south of the border.”
The Real Canadian Wholesale Club and the Husky both experienced long lineups over the weekend and early this week, but were receiving new shipments of gasoline as needed from their suppliers.