If Vancouverites need to fill up their gas tanks, it might be a good idea to do that right now.
That’s because gas prices are set to go up to $1.61 per litre in the region on Sunday, according to Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst at Gasbuddy.com.
That will, again, mark the highest gas price that has ever been seen in Canada, he said.
Coverage of gas prices on Globalnews.ca:
“So we’re at 158.9, which for most people is a really eye-popping number,” McTeague told Global News.
But that record-breaking price will first be beaten with a one-cent increase on Saturday, and then with another two-cent increase on Sunday, bringing prices to a total of $1.619 per litre.
The reason? A shortage of gasoline in the Vancouver region — and that’s come as a result of a number of factors.
One of them is that B.C. doesn’t have enough refineries — and two out of the five in Washington state are currently in spring maintenance.
It may take some time for them to be back in action, McTeague said.
But they, too, are facing supply challenges. he said refineries there had to import two large vessels of Asian fuel.
“We are seeing demand at or exceeding supply, and that really means there will continue to be a speculative push on prices,” McTeague said.
“And that means with the Canadian dollar worsening, we’re going to continue to see these elevated prices, likely staying above $1.58 for the next couple of weeks.
What’s a solution for higher gas prices? Building a pipeline and increasing supply, McTeague said.
But there’s some question as to how that would work.
UBC Prof. Werner Antweiler, who focuses on energy markets, previously told Global News that a new pipeline wouldn’t matter as much as refinery capacity.
McTeague agreed expanding refinery capacity would help — but, built in concert with a pipeline, it could help to drive prices down, he said.
“Once you expand your pipeline by 50,000 barrels of potential light fuel, gasoline or diesel, in other words you’ll be building another refinery with this pipeline, you would see prices tempered,” McTeague said.
“You wouldn’t see this sudden, dramatic takeoff from Pacific Northwest markets.
“That would bring a heck of a lot more fuel into our area and it would temper prices, probably bringing them down several cents a litre, easily.”
McTeague went on to say that there’s “more than enough refinery capacity” in Alberta and Saskatchewan to match what’s being produced in Washington state.
“We have a lot, we can scale up, so it’s not a refinery issue,” he said.