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Gas prices will give us a rough ride this summer

Price at the pumps could hit $1.40 by next week, some predict

Published July 16, 2013

Whoa!

Gas prices have gone up yet again. It now costs $1.35 a litre to fill ’er up and we’re still a couple of weeks away from a long weekend. What’s up with that?

It’s hard not to notice the price of gasoline has skyrocketed in the GTA since last week, and the price at the pumps could reach $1.40 by next week, according to one price-watching expert.

The same thing is happening across the country, with the price from coast to coast averaging about $1.34 a litre, unless of course if you live in oil-rich Alberta where it’s nearly 15 cents a litre cheaper in some spots (it’s $1.16 a litre in Red Deer; that’s almost worth the drive!).

“In the GTA we are seeing a 10-cent gap between the highest and lowest price, so at some of the expensive gas stations we may see the price go to $1.40 as early as next week,” said Jason Toews, co-founder of GasBuddy.com.

“It’s a certainty as we get to the end of the summer driving season prices will peak by Labour Day and then drop with the demand as people drive less,” he added.

Surprisingly, the cheapest places to buy gas in Ontario are cottage country areas like Muskoka, where gas is as low as $1.26 a litre in some spots. Toews say those lower prices will be short-lived.

“That is a bit unusual,” said Toews, adding: “It’s not unusual to see cheaper gas in places like Ajax or Oshawa but not cottage country. I would expect to see an increase soon in those areas as well.”

Last Friday’s 3-cent price jump (followed by Sunday’s 3.5 cent price jump) were attributed to rising oil prices due to unrest in the Middle East after Mohammed Morsi was ousted as Egypt’s president.

“It’s always an excuse,” Toews said. “OPEC manipulates the price of crude oil to make more money. What they do is produce less oil and blame it on things like political strife.”

The Canadian cost of crude oil is nearing $110 a barrel and has gone up by $10 over the past month.

“There is little doubt that there was going to be an increase given the inventory situation in the United States as well as the diminishing value of the Canadian currency,” said Dan McTeague, who runs the Tomorrow’s Gas Price Today website.

“I don’t see it spiking a whole lot more … It’s hard to say because the markets haven’t settled,” he added.

Prices were in fact expected to go down by 1 cent at midnight, but the overall trend is upwards.

The current average price of gas in the Toronto area is about $1.34 and Toews predicts it’ll reach about $1.42 by the end of the summer driving season, drop after that and rise again if we see severe and destructive hurricane activity before the end of September.

“The good news is we will see gas prices go down by the end of the year. It should go down as low as $1.15 in the GTA by the end of December,” Toews said.

That’s cold comfort now as we’re sweltering in the heat and fuming over the rising cost of running Betsy.

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