The national average for a liter of gas in Canada right now is $1.37 — the highest ever at this time of year.
Here In the Okanagan, drivers are paying even more. In Kelowna, most gas stations have a posted price of $1.37 per liter.
While we often see a spike at the pumps at the start of driving season, this year’s increase is earlier and larger than usual.
“It’s a little early to see prices starting to creep up this high. Usually the turn comes May long weekend when drivers hit the road and people start to travel so seeing high gas prices in April is a surprise,” says financial analyst at Border Gold Crop Robert Levy.
Levy says there are a number of factors contributing to the early spike at the pumps including a lower loonie and refinery issues.
“Another factor is refineries and shortage of available crude particularly on West Coast so we are seeing that premium widening and opportunity for gas stations for taking extra bucks and you don’t want to say the word but gauging consumers,” says Levy.
He also points to Russia and Ukraine as another reason.
“Absolutely especially what is going on in Ukraine cause of fears that is in global market and fact increase demand from Europe could come from US so it is bidding up price of international markets that’s definitely contributing to prices in our markets” says Levy.
No one knows for sure how long prices will remain high but experts predict they will mellow out somewhat after the May long weekend.