Gas hit an all-time high of $2.219 a litre in Greater Victoria on Monday, part of a cross-Canada price surge being blamed on the Russian war in Ukraine.
The average price of gas in Canada is pushing toward $1.97 a litre, with British Columbians feeling the most pain at the pumps, shelling out an average of $2.06 a litre.
Prices in Vancouver also shot up Monday, setting a new record of $2.23 a litre, while drivers in Montreal are dealing with $2.07 a litre, and prices in St. John’s stand at $2.03 a litre.
Pump prices in Greater Victoria shot up by 12 cents a litre to $2.10 at some service stations last week. By Sunday, prices had gone up again, with Victoria residents paying $2.17 a litre at some stations, matching the record set in March. Monday saw further increases.
Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, predicted gas prices could go up an additional five cents a litre next week if the situation worsens in Ukraine and as Canadians gear up for the May long weekend, typically considered the unofficial start of summer.
But McTeague said even if the war in Ukraine comes to an end in the near future, high gas prices will likely stick around for a while because Russia’s energy sector will continue to be subject to sanctions.
The supply-demand issue that was weighing on the oil industry long before the war broke out isn’t going to go away either, he said.
Some people think “all this is because of Russia, but nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “It is a matter of fundamentals. There was less supply and more demand before and that hasn’t changed.”
McTeague said the summer season will play a role in pushing gas prices higher as more people hit the road.
“During the summer, gasoline prices tend to detach from oil prices — they go much higher,” he said.
He pointed to a weaker Canadian dollar as a contributing factor.
Bruce Ralston, B.C. minister of energy, mines and petroleum resources, said Monday the province is “doing everything we can” in the face of record-breaking gas prices
“I’m acutely aware of the impact that increased prices are having, whether it [is] on businesses or on households,” Ralston said during a media scrum at the B.C. legislature.
Ralston said the province will consider “other measures” in addition to a one-time rebate announced in March.
Most drivers who have a basic auto insurance policy will receive $110 and most commercial drivers, who tend to have higher expenses, will get $165 through the rebate. ICBC is expected to send out the first payments starting this month.
Ralston made the comments on the heels of Parkland Fuels announcing it will expand its capacity to make diesel fuel from canola oil and other renewable sources at its Burnaby refinery.