Heading out for the May long weekend? Here’s what to expect for gas prices

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What to expect at the gas pump this May long weekend
WATCH: What to expect at the gas pump this May long weekend – May 17, 2024

Canadians hitting the road this May long weekend won’t need to worry too much about a big jump at the gas pump before making their trip, but analysts say those hoping for a drop likely won’t see one, either.

As of Thursday, the average gas price for Canada was about $1.625 to $1.639 per litre — the number ranges based on data from fuel price tracking websites and, respectively.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, told Global News there are various factors that have led to an improvement in gas prices compared to the peak seen mid-April.

This includes switching from the winter to summer gas, with refineries increasing output and the end of maintenance season, which also means more production.

“I will say there could be some minor fluctuations, but at least for now, it looks like there should be broad relief,” De Haan said.

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Despite some relief, GasBuddy said in early April there was “virtually zero chance that gas prices will ever fall below $1 per litre again.”

The prices vary depending on where you live. GasBuddy’s gas price tracker showing the most expensive cost is in B.C. where people are paying about $1.897 a litre on average, compared to $1.599 in Ontario or as low as $1.415 in Manitoba.

Though the long weekend means more people on the road, GasWizard’s Dan McTeague, who also is president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, said gas prices right now will reflect what’s happening in the markets. He said Canada’s seen a week-over-week decrease of about two to three per cent, though will likely see a $0.01 increase on Friday and potentially another jump of the same amount Saturday or Sunday.

Click to play video: 'Business Matters: Canada’s inflation rate ticked up in March amid higher gas prices'
Business Matters: Canada’s inflation rate ticked up in March amid higher gas prices

GasWizard is expecting a range of changes, with Toronto expecting a $0.01 increase on Friday, Vancouver seeing a $0.02 drop, no change from the $1.549 in Saskatoon, and a $0.01 rise in Montreal the same day.

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What people will need to watch for, McTeague says, is how the markets react to the U.S. Memorial Day weekend next week with the American Automobile Association predicting 38.4 million people on the road, the highest since 2000 for that holiday.

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“That is likely to be very bullish for gas prices by this time next week,” McTeague said.

He added the meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on whether to maintain production cuts may hold sway, though with oil prices having dropped in the past month, it’s unlikely they will adjust which could be “very supportive” of gas prices in the next couple weeks.

When should Canadians fuel up?

De Haan says Canadians shouldn’t worry too much about when to fuel up this weekend, expecting little in terms of major differences from one city to the other.

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“So you can fill up now or during the course of the weekend, there shouldn’t be a huge difference,” he said.

A critical factor, McTeague notes, is where you’re travelling, pointing to the Kawarthas and Peterborough in Ontario as an example of how prices can be as much as $0.07 a litre less than what they are in Toronto.

Tips on how to save

Even though a big jump may not happen in the coming weeks, there are things Canadians can still do to try and save on fuel.

This can include driving more efficiently by utilizing cruise control on long road trips to reduce fuel consumption, checking fuel price tracking websites to help ensure you’re getting a good price, and even, as McTeague says, good driving behaviour.

“Jackrabbit starts, massive braking, zigzagging — those kind of things aren’t necessarily conducive to using greater amounts of fuel,” he said.

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“When it comes to driving, generally, common sense is always the greatest way to save money.”

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Gas prices coming down

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