It’s been a tough week for Edmonton drivers. The city has been hit with its first significant snowfall of the season, making for harsh road conditions, and now the price of gas has skyrocketed.
Prices at Shell and Petro-Canada gas stations jumped to $1.24 per litre on Friday morning.
It was a significant increase from a couple days ago, when the highest prices in the city were around $1.10 per litre.
“Definitely not hoping it’s going to be the norm, especially if you have to use gas constantly for starting the car early, for making sure there’s proper heat going through the vehicle,” an Edmonton driver said.
“It’s going to burn through gas like nobody’s business. It’s going to take a fair chunk out of the wallet.”
Twitter users were expressing their frustration on Friday morning:
According to Gas Buddy, there were still stations posting prices of $1.03 to $1.06 per litre as of 7:30 a.m. Friday.
Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said Western Canada, including Edmonton, relies on an indicator in Chicago to set gas prices and that indicator increased 60 cents a gallon in the past week and a half.
“There was a pipeline rupture that stopped a lot of gasoline in the upper U.S. midwest,” McTeague said.
“We’ve seen two refineries that were down for an extended period of time doing maintenance. It’s those two factors that have a lot to do with why we’re seeing prices rise and spike dramatically.”
McTeague said the spike is unusual and isn’t something that is often seen in the fall.
“But, bear in mind, we are seeing massive demand for gasoline products in the United States. Their economy is on fire whether we like it or not. That means of course more people are taking to the road, demand for gasoline products continues to accelerate not decelerate,” he said.
The analyst said that gas stations in Western Canada from Thunder Bay, Ont. to B.C., except for the Lower Mainland, will go up and may continue to do so until late next week, when he says supply issues should correct themselves in Chicago.
“This is really a reflection of the demand spike we’re seeing for gasoline. We’re price takers – we price all our gasoline in U.S. terms,” McTeague said.
He added it may not be good news for motorists but it may be positive overall in the bigger picture.
“It’s fantastic news for the oil industry, which provides revenues for not just job creation in Alberta but supports our infrastructure, including our transfer of payments to other provinces. If we could get more product down to the States, I’m sure they would use it. Demand is high and will continue to be high as a result of a strengthening economy.”