Kingston residents shocked by price fluctuations at local gas stations

Click to play video: 'Kingston residents fed up with fluctuating gas prices in the region' Kingston residents fed up with fluctuating gas prices in the region
A number of Kingston gas stations saw an increase of 10 cents overnight, pushing the price to 109.9 cents per litre at some locations. GasBuddy spokesperson Dan McTeague explains why. – Dec 12, 2018

Kingstonians may have noticed gas prices hovering around $1 per litre over the past few weeks, but on Wednesday, local residents woke up to an increase of nearly 10 cents at some gas stations, pushing the cost to more than 107.9 cents per litre.

“I think it’s insane,” said Beth Hanmore, a Kingston resident. “It’s hard to run around and serve clients and do that kind of thing with high prices.”

The biggest question for some is why the fluctuation in gas costs.

“Sometimes it goes up, sometimes it goes down,” said Douglas Weinar, another local resident. “I’m wondering what’s going on.”

Petroleum analyst and GasBuddy spokesperson Dan McTeague says the low prices have to do with a drop in crude oil prices.

READ MORE: Gas prices to drop four cents in Ontario, could dip below $1 per litre in the GTA, analyst says

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“Crude oil was about $76-77 a barrel in October. Today, it’s struggling at $51,” says McTeague. “That 30-per-cent loss is the main reason we’ve seen gas prices drop as much as they have.”

However, in the time it took Global News to set up our cameras, the price at one gas station went in the other direction, jumping from 98.9 cents per litre to 107.9 and leaving consumers who had just pulled in to the station frustrated.

“I literally just went to get money and came back. It had already gone from 98.9 to 107 so yes, it’s ridiculous,” said Hanmore.

McTeague says that as exasperating as it can be for people paying at the pumps, the up and down consumers are experiencing is because individual gas stations have wiggle room when it comes to setting the price. This means that local gas stations are able to drop prices to attract customers and later increase those prices to recoup overhead costs.

READ MORE: Gas prices are hitting records in Canada and it’s not going to stop anytime soon: expert

“Retailers in Kingston tend to shed their operating costs, which is about 10 or 11 cents a litre,” says McTeague. “That really makes up a big difference that you’re seeing.”

McTeague says this jump, along with the increase in the cost of diesel, could also affect commercial goods — an expense that would then be passed on to the consumer.

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“Diesel prices have never been this high,” says McTeague. “It’s likely that we’re going to see a higher cost of transportation for the foreseeable future.”

Current gas prices are still relatively low compared to earlier this summer when Kingstonians saw costs of close to $1.40 per litre.

McTeague also says that once the Liberal government’s carbon tax comes into play in January, consumers could see the price jump more than 15 cents per litre.

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