Hurricane Harvey blows gas prices way up

Dianna Christensen
September 2, 2017

Hurricane Harvey, which is now pummelling Texas with rain, is to blame for the uptick in gas prices in the Montreal area.

On Wednesday, he added that another hike could be on the horizon for Friday - just as people hit the road for the Labour Day weekend.

Nova Scotia's benchmark price of gasoline is based on an average of the daily market price for refined gasoline on the New York Mercantile Exchange, converted into Canadian dollars.

Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst with the price-comparing website GasBuddy.com, says it's a matter of when, not if. That's likely to keep prices high and lead to another spike several months from now as working refineries eventually have to go into maintenance, he said.

In Canada, prices are also affected by a lack of competition among gasoline wholesalers and taxes, according to McTeague.

McTeague said although Alberta doesn't import gasoline from the US, the prices are based on the larger market conditions.

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Roger McKnight, senior petroleum analyst with En-Pro International Inc., said he has never seen such a big price increase.

"If you're driving with 75 litres and you're going to be travelling this weekend, the increase could be at least $7 or $8" extra to fill up, he said.

"We don't have enough supply in Canada and that's an argument I've made for some time", he said. Of course, we don't have spare barrels of gasoline we can send down there.

It could always be worse, however - McTeague said prices rose in Ontario and Quebec by 20 cents a litre across the board.

McTeague offered a look at what the country could expect in the coming week.

Canadian gasoline prices vary substantially by region and city, with Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and most of the Atlantic provinces below the national average.

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