EDMONTON — The ongoing roller coaster of gas prices in Edmonton has many drivers wondering what the heck is going on.
In less than 48 hours this week, the price of gas went from around 57 cents per litre up to 77 cents per litre and, almost as quickly as they jumped, prices went back down to 57 cents per litre.
“I know it’s very confusing for motorists but it’s an unusual market and it’s a crazy market,” petroleum analyst Dan McTeague said Thursday.
The Domo gas station on Princess Elizabeth Avenue and 102 Street was selling gas for 49.9 cents per litre for a couple of hours Thursday afternoon. The station said it was a four-hour flash sale. After the sale was over, the price of fuel went up to 55.9 cents per litre.
The average price of gas in Edmonton remained at 75.3 cents per litre early Thursday afternoon, according to the gas price tracking website gasbuddy.com, but several stations had dropped their prices to 57.4 cents per litre.
McTeague said it appears to be nothing more than a stunt by gas stations.
“What’s really happening here isn’t so much the wholesale price,” he explained. “It’s really the last 10 to 12-cent-a-litre retail margin that’s being pushed up and then pushed down within a few days.
“So, a lot of competition on the retail side, zero competition on the refinery side.”
McTeague said as of Wednesday night, gas stations were paying about 41.7 cents per litre to buy fuel from refineries. When you add on the 20 cents per litre worth of taxes, McTeague said stations really shouldn’t be selling fuel for less than about 68 cents per litre.
“We often see this. They know the wholesale prices are increasing, instead they drive their retail prices down. It gets people more excited, the price drops to 54 cents, 56 cents a litre. Then come Tuesday morning, when the weekend was over – so no one could accuse them of jacking up the prices before the long weekend – there you go, a 12-cent spike on their retail side to get back their retail margin,” McTeague said.
“I think, frankly, it’s a crude joke and people who are doing that kind of stuff ought to give their head a shake.”