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239.9: Victoria gas prices hit new high

Temporary shutdown of refineries in U.S. Pacific Northwest and California has constrained supply, says gas-price analyst
A record high price for gasoline in Greater Victoria was displayed at several stations on Thursday, including the Petro Canada outlet at Hillside Avenue and Shelbourne Street. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

The price for a litre of regular gasoline hit an all-time high in Greater Victoria Thursday, climbing to $2.399.

The jaw-dropping price was displayed in red neon at several gas stations in the region.

However, not all stations were charging that price. Many stations were charging $2.14 or $2.29 a litre.

The previous record for most expensive gas was set on June 6 when the price for a regular litre of gasoline hit an average of $2.369 per litre.

The new high cements Vancouver and Victoria with the unenviable title as North America’s most expensive cities for gasoline.

Even higher prices are predicted for the near future.

Gas Wizard, a website created to help drivers track pump price, is predicting the cost of a litre of gas will rise to $2.419 cents in Victoria and Vancouver today.

Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, said prices passed the previous record due to the temporary shutdown of refineries in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and California.

Prices will likely rise again then drop fairly quickly once the supply issues are resolved, he said.

“I don’t see the all-clear light at the end of the tunnel just yet. It’s going to happen and when it does it will be a dramatic drop, probably about 20 cents a litre, not in one fell swoop but very close to that over two or three days,” he said.

Gas prices jumped overnight across Canada by almost 20 cents in some places.

McTeague said no one could have predicted gas prices increasing at the speed they have over the past several days.

“The bottom line is that there’s not enough supply out there and however we got here, we’re going to have to spend a bit more time trying to figure this out because this is the kind of things that bring economies to a standstill,” he said.

Gas prices rose on the same day the Angus Reid Institute released a poll showing nine in 10 Canadian adults are tightening their belts to deal with persistently high inflation. Just over 40 per cent said they are driving less.

According to the Canadian Automobile Association price tracker, gas is up nationally by just over three cents per litre on average, at $1.58 per litre.

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