Metro Vancouver gas prices hit 99 cents per litre as coronavirus hammers oil markets

Metro Vancouver gas prices dipped below $1 per litre on Thursday amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Global News

For the first time in years, the price of gasoline in Metro Vancouver has dipped under a dollar per litre.

The milestone was reached Thursday night, with several gas stations advertising fuel for 99.9 cents per litre.

Prices rebounded Friday and were hovering just over a dollar a litre.

Patrick DeHaan with said the rock-bottom prices we’re not used to seeing were the result of a glut caused by both supply and demand factors.

Saudi Arabia and Russia have both ramped up production at the same time as consumer demand is lower than ever due to people working from home and practicing social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Canadian government ‘very mindful’ of virus’ impact on oil and gas sector, Freeland says

“Even if they hadn’t increased production, oil prices would have continued to fall,” he said. “But they certainly accelerated that by announcing the increase in production at the time the global market needed anything but.”

While the price at the pump may be a historical low, DeHaan said Metro Vancouver still has some of the highest fuel prices in North America.

He added that the lower prices now may appear to be a silver lining to consumers, but they will have a devastating impact on the Canadian oil and gas sector, where prices for a barrel of Alberta oil have plunged below US$10 — cheaper than a bottle of hand sanitizer.

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“It’s hard to put any positive spin on it just because the cost to bringing these low prices is insurmountable,” DeHaan added.

“This poses a great threat to the Canadian economy. I would imagine that tens of thousands of jobs are at risk.”

He said it is impossible to tell how long the crash in oil prices will last, and that should the pandemic persist for weeks and months as predicted, prices may slide even lower.

Last spring, prices in B.C. reached record highs, with some gas stations selling fuel for more than $1.70 per litre.

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