No relief in sight as gasoline price hits four-year high

Canadians celebrating the onset of summer driving season have been dismayed by another spring phenomenon, increasing gasoline prices

Canadians celebrating the onset of summer driving season have been dismayed by another spring phenomenon — rising gasoline prices across the country.

According to GasBuddy.com, the average price of regular gasoline in Canada on Monday was about $1.33 per litre, up 22 cents from the average of $1.11 per litre at the same time last year.

The record high for the same day was set in 2014 at just over $1.37.

Vancouver region prices have spiked to all-time record highs over $1.61 but will likely fall by four to six cents per litre over the next few weeks as two refineries in Washington state start up after maintenance shutdowns, said GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Dan McTeague.

Related: Lower Mainland gas prices hit record-breaking 160+ cents a litre

Related: Gas prices keep rising

But he said prices will then rise again in the Lower Mainland — and across the country — as driving season gets into full swing.

“For the next couple of weeks, I think it’s going to be prices climbing down but, after May 24, look out, that’s when we’re back into the thick of it and prices could start to slowly but surely climb up with some spikes occurring,” said McTeague.

He said it’s possible that the average price in Canada this summer will be about $1.36 per litre.

GasBuddy pegged average Vancouver prices on Monday at over $1.58 per litre, up 28 cents from last April 30. McTeague expects near-record prices in Montreal and Toronto this summer.

Rising oil prices are driving fuel prices higher. The benchmark price of U.S. crude oil last week hit US$68.64 per barrel, the highest since December 2014.

Fuel prices usually rise across Canada and the United States during the annual spring maintenance cycle at refineries, which tightens supply, said fuel market analyst Michael Ervin, senior vice-president at the Kent Group Ltd.

Strong domestic economies are supporting even higher prices at the same time that demand is being boosted by exports from the U.S. Gulf Coast to customers in Mexico and South America, he added.

“Throughout the summer, generally speaking, prices are more stable as demand stabilizes and refiners are through their seasonal turnarounds so they’re better able to meet that demand,” said Ervin.

“I think that’s what we will see. But I’m not saying we’re at the end of the increases yet.”

The fuel price increases will filter through the economy, said McTeague, leading to less discretionary spending, higher inflation rates and fuel premium increases for truck, rail and air transport of goods.

Ervin said Vancouver-area wholesale prices are usually higher than most other regions in Canada because of logistical issues in supplying the market. He says an average wholesale price in Vancouver (not including tax and retail markup) is about 98 cents a litre, about 10 cents higher than in Winnipeg.

The U.S. daily national average for regular gasoline is US$2.81 per gallon, up from about US$2.39 per gallon a year ago, according to Oil Price Information Service.

“This will be the most expensive driving season since 2014,” said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for Oil Price Information Service.

Several factors have helped drive oil prices higher. A wave of global economic growth has driven up demand for oil. At the same time, production cutbacks initiated by OPEC last year have helped whittle down oil supplies.

In the U.S., oil supplies were running 1.1 million barrels lower at the start of this summer’s driving season, which runs from April through September, than a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That has amplified the typical increase in gas prices seen this time of year. Already, U.S. consumer demand for gasoline hit a record high for the month of April, according to the EIA.

Related: $1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

With files from The Associated Press.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Slocan Valley added to communities on flooding evac alert

Kootenay Lake is expected to reach flooding level in Nelson by Friday

PHOTOS: Cantering like a boss

Jacky Cooper was in Blewett this weekend to teach at the Nelson and District Riding Club

UPDATED: Hwy 3 west of Creston remains closed due to mudslide

A detour is available on the Kootenay Lake Ferry, but commuters could see wait times

COLUMN: Making a wildlife smart community

David White writes how property owners can avoid conflict with nature

Police searching for Nelson man

Brent Mickelson hasn’t been heard from since February

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Governments kick in cash for B.C. farmers, food processors

Ottawa, Victoria contribute $14 million over five years to help develop new products, processes

UBC professor claims victory at B.C. car race

A physics engineering professor had the fastest time during Kelowna hill climb race

MP Karina Gould back to Hill with baby Oliver for electoral reform bill

Gould brought Oliver to work with her as she resumed duties as democratic institutions minister

VIDEO: Footage of 2 shrieking lynx posted by Canadians goes viral

The videos — one shot by a man and his girlfriend — show two lynx sitting face-to-face, shrieking

Teen must repay $37M for starting Oregon wildfire

A teenager who started a major wildfire in Oregon has been ordered to pay restitution

Canada’s G7 goal on development: luring private capital to poor nations

G7 finance and international development ministers convene in British Columbia next week

Congressional leaders to review information on Russia probe

Trump said he will “demand” that the Justice Department open an investigation into whether the FBI infiltrated his presidential campaign

Canadians stranded in Cuba after plane crash returning home

Montreal-based travel agency says hundreds of Canadians who were stuck in Cuba since a plane crash last week are returning home

Most Read