COVID-19 mandates and supply issues causing gas prices to rise across Canada, experts say

EDMONTON — Across southern Ontario, drivers had to open their wallets a little wider Friday morning to fuel up after gas prices in most places rose by five cents per litre overnight and now sit near record levels.

Similarly, Western Canada has been grappling with high prices all summer, with Alberta smashing gas price records last month.

The complex issue of gas prices boils down to the simple concept of supply and demand, according to Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy.

“The bottom line is that the U.S. is producing a lot less oil than it did pre-pandemic,” he told CTV National News. “Ditto for Canada.”

Another factor, according to Roger McKnight, chief petroleum analysts at En-Pro International, is COVID-19 mandates across the country, which have potentially gotten more people out on the roads.

“This implies a potential increase in demand and that’s being built into the wholesale price,” he told CTV National News.

The big wildcard now is Hurricane Ida, as the U.S. Gulf Coast braces for the monster sea storm churning toward the continent.

If it hits coastal refineries, “that would cause a 12-cent-a-litre increase,” McTeague said. “We could be looking at all-time records, not just for Toronto, Ottawa, London, Ontario, but really for much of North America, including Canada.”

Predicting gas prices for the coming weeks may be a difficult task, with so many variables at play, from weather in Louisiana to production on Edmonton’s Refinery Row more than 3,000 km away.

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