Gas analysts say fuel prices in Metro Vancouver could reach record levels this weekend.
Drivers are expected to pay about $167.9 Thursday, but that could jump to as high as $1.75 by the weekend.
“We’re seeing unprecedented highs. We haven’t seen prices like this, going back to May 19, 2019,” said Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy.
That’s when prices reached an all time high of $172.9.
Now, problems at a refinery in Ferndale, Wash. have caused a drop in supply.
“This isn’t about just Vancouver and the usual garden variety gouging that we all like to think this is. It has a lot to do with supply drop shock. And of course, with added taxes here in our city, being the highest tax jurisdiction in North America with the highest prices, nothing is surprising,” explained McTeague.
He expects prices will remain high for the rest of the summer.
“Retail margins in Vancouver are skinny, seven cents, seven and a half cents a litre,” McTeague told CTV News.
In comparison, it’s about 13 to 15 cents in Calgary and Edmonton.
“Don’t blame the retailer if this has a lot to do with the market,” he said.
McTeague says Metro Vancouver has the highest gas prices in the country because of a myriad of taxes.
“If your destination takes you anywhere, as long as you’re outside of the area served by TransLink, gasoline prices drop substantially,” said the analyst.
For example, drivers in B.C.’s Interior pay about 20 cents per litre less.
With the U.S.-Canada border remaining shut due to the pandemic, drivers don’t have the option of heading to the United States to fill up either, where they would pay about $1.30 a litre.
McTeague is advising drivers to be mindful when taking a road trip this summer.
“Ensure your vehicles are maintained, the tires are pumped up and inflated properly, make sure that you use air conditioning sparingly,” he said.
Driving is becoming increasingly unaffordable in Metro Vancouver, McTeague, who spent many years as a member of Parliament, says it may be time for the province to step in.
“What is being done now is really harming the economy, harming the finances of ordinary hardworking people,” he said.
“I think politicians in Victoria should be spending a bit more time paying attention to bread and butter issues. Things at a time in which we need to get the economy up and running, again, not burden people with, with higher costs to do the things they need to do, get to work, and go from point A to point B efficiently.”
The rising gas prices are expected to cause a ripple effect, with higher transportation costs raising the prices of groceries and other goods.