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Another big spike at the pumps

Prices expected to rise by about 3.6 cents a litre on Sunday

Published July 12, 2013

By Kamila Hinkson, Toronto Star

If you need gas, better fill up today. Prices are set to take another big jump in the GTA on Sunday.

Gas prices already went up 2.2 cents on Friday to $1.33  — a price not seen here since the winter. Dan McTeague of Tomorrow’s Gas Price Today predicted the price would ease a bit on Saturday, by about 1 cent a litre.

But the relief looks to be shortlived.

Prices are expected to go up about 3.6 cents a litre on Sunday, jacking the price per litre up to about $1.35 or $1.36 a litre.

Toronto’s ricocheting prices are frustrating, but they’re nothing compared to Vancouver — with the highest gas prices in Canada, now at $1.51.

Roger McKnight, senior petroleum analyst at En-Pro International Inc, said “sheer speculation” is to blame for the increase in oil prices. The price of a barrel of crude began inching upward on July 3, when Mohammed Morsi was ousted as Egypt’s president.

The Egyptian-controlled Suez Canal and a nearby oil pipeline are responsible for the transport of more than two million barrels of crude oil a day between Egypt and Europe, McKnight said.

Crude prices rose amid fears that the social unrest in Egypt would restrict Europe’s oil supply or that the Egyptian upheaval would spread to other important oil-producing countries such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

In the past two weeks the price of oil has shot up $11 a barrel on rising demand in the U.S. and political upheaval in the Middle East. The price closed Thursday above $104.

During the same two weeks, oil supplies have dropped by 20.2 million barrels, which is slightly more than one day’s consumption for the U.S. Gasoline supplies have fallen by 4.3 million barrels.

While U.S. demand has pushed up prices in recent weeks, the outlook remains uncertain for the longer term.

“While geopolitical risk, related to the unrest in Egypt and the Middle East more generally, is currently buoying oil prices, if this risk were to fade, there will be few pillars of support for the oil market in the second half of this year,” said commodities analyst Caroline Bain of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

With files from The Associated Press

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