'The Hurricane Harvey effect:' storm behind gas price hikes

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According to gasbuddy.com, the average retail price of gasoline in Ontario has risen from 107.5 cents per litre on August 28 to 120.9 cents per litre on September 1. The average price in Montreal was expected to climb as high as $1.42 a litre at some point over the Labour Day long weekend.

Gasbuddy.com reported a two-cent hike in the average Canadian price on Friday to nearly $1.18 per litre.

"The big issue? Shortages in the USA northeast".

It appears New Brunswickers are in store for a major jump in gas prices - perhaps by nine cents a litre by midnight tonight.

"I would definitely. buy some gasoline", he said. Now there is no indication the refineries have been damaged by the hurricane or resulting flooding.

Many U.S. refiners would like to turn to Canada for oil supplies, particularly because our lower dollar makes our petroleum products a good value.

Vayu senior energy analyst Keith Donnelly
Vayu senior energy analyst Keith Donnelly

He said any fluctuations in retail prices, which were hovering at either 99.9 cents or 107.9 cents at many local outlets on Friday, would be as a result of gas stations adjusting their retail margins.

USA benchmark oil prices that fell below US$46 per barrel on Wednesday due to less demand from refineries have recovered to more than US$47 per barrel. "We barely have enough for ourselves", he said.

"Some of the refineries in Canada are going through fall maintenance, and that means we just don't have any capacity".

McTeague and Roger McKnight, chief petroleum analyst for EnPro International, agreed that prices on the Prairies will be stable over the weekend after rising by five to 10 cents to about $1.10 per litre in the past few days.

"It's likely we will see another 14-cent increase between now and next Thursday", McTeague said Friday morning.

McKnight said he thinks gasoline prices will drop back by two or three cents per litre next week throughout Canada.

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