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Okanagan motorists fuming at the pump after sudden spike in gas prices

Gas prices jump by 16 cents per litre at many gas stations in the Okanagan
A shock for many Okanagan motorists today who went to gas up. The price of regular fuel jumping significantly overnight much to the dismay and confusion of consumers....many of whom don't understand why gas prices are climbing while oil prices are tanking. Klaudia Van Emmerik reports

The price of fueling your vehicle went up on Wednesday despite the staggering drop in oil prices recently.

In the Central Okanagan, for example, the price of a litre shot up overnight from 89.9 cents to $1.059.

It was the same story in the South Okanagan and North Okanagan.

READ MORE: New website launched to better track the price of gas in B.C.

In Penticton, gas was priced between $1.049 and $1.069, though some stations were listed at 90.9 cents a litre, according to GasBuddy.

In Vernon, gas was pegged at $1.059.

However, in the Shuswap, gas was between 79.9 cents a litre and 94.9 cents a litre. Yet one hour east from Salmon Arm, gas was between 99.9 cents and $1.149 a litre in Revelstoke.

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Some motorists say the price hike is nothing more than price gouging, especially since global oil prices are at historic lows due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But a longtime analyst says gas and oil markets have to be looked at as  two separate markets.

“Think of it this way: It’s not a great analogy, but if you look at the price of lumber dropping that doesn’t necessarily follow that the price of real estate will drop,” said Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy.

What has Okanagan motorists fuming is that the valley has some of the most expensive gas in the province — even higher than the Lower Mainland.

As of 5 p.m., gas stations in Vancouver had prices between 82.9 cents and 94.9 cents a litre.

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Even places like Edmonton, where prices jumped by a whopping 20 cents per litre overnight, are still cheaper.

In B.C., the the average price at the pumps as of Wednesday afternoon was 92.5 cents per litre. The second highest was Quebec at 83.7, followed by Newfoundland and Labrador at 81.3.

Alberta had some of the cheapest gas with an average price of 66.9 cents per litre.

“We are seeing a bit of a increase in demand, ever so slightly in the United States and it’s that market, part the Chicago market, which governs all of the us midwest that has pushed prices up here in Canada,” said McTeague.

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And with B.C. said to be faring better than other parts of the country as far as the pandemic goes, motorists can expect gas prices to only continue going  up in the weeks ahead.

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“The pandemic brought us into this crisis in which we saw prices drop as a result of no longer having any demand,” said McTeague.

“And it’s jurisdictions like B.C., which will be the first to see demand resume, and with it prices getting back to normal, which of course could mean even higher [prices], but not likely until the end of May.”
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