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Coronavirus: Gas prices plummet throughout most Canadian provinces amid pandemic

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Gas prices are plummeting across the country as more Canadians bunker down into self-isolation and work from home to flatten the novel coronavirus curve.

The latest numbers from the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) show that gas prices are down in Nova Scotia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick.

CAA’s averages are calculated daily. According to the association, Wednesday’s national gas price was 85.3 (cents) per litre, down from the 105.8 per litre it was exactly one month ago — a 20 per cent decrease.

One year ago, the average at this time was 114.1 per litre — making today’s prices a 26-per cent decrease.

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Significant drops were found in Alberta, which averages at 78 per litre, down from 93.5 per litre last month and 110.3 last year.

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Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta facing period of ‘profound adversity’ over oil prices

Ontario also saw a decrease from 110.8 last year to an average of 82.7 per litre on Wednesday.

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New Brunswick, which averages at 91.1 per litre, dropped from 112.8 per litre last month and 116.3 last year.

Nova Scotia went from 119.9 per litre last year to 80.3. Newfoundland and Labrador saw a similar decrease, from 123.4 per litre to 99.9.

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Prince Edward Island averages at 95.8 per litre, but last year it averaged at 115.2.

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Gas prices in British Columbia remain higher than most provinces at 113.1 per litre, but pale in comparison to last year’s gas prices, which averaged at 136.8.

Quebec, too, was down. In 2019, the province averaged at 124.3 per litre, but on Wednesday CAA recorded 94.8.

Manitoba was also low, averaging at 81.4 per litre, a sharp contrast from its gas price average of 111.9 per litre last year.

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A spokesperson from CAA told Global News that it gets its information from a company data collection service called Opus, which combines both crowdsourcing from community-based fuel app GasBuddy and credit card data.

By Wednesday afternoon, GasBuddy showed similar results in all provinces with the exception of the Northwest Territories, where gas prices appear to have risen to 117.30, up by 0.3 per cent from Tuesday’s numbers.

Global News was unable to obtain data for the provinces of Nunavut and the Yukon territories.

Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy, said in a report sent to Global News that the recent drop in price can be attributed to lower demands for oil.

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Alberta premier concerned about energy sector layoffs amid impacts from COVID-19, falling oil prices

He said the lockdowns began in China, which is the second largest consumer of oil behind the United States, but now lockdowns are being imposed in multiple countries.

“The coronavirus has caused countries to be in lockdown, limiting driving, flying and overall movement in order to contain the spread. This means very little need for oil,” De Haan said.

In a statement to Global News, De Haan said it would be difficult to predict how quickly prices will fluctuate.

“It’s very challenging to know how quick the situation may get better or even worsen,” he said.