Ontario gas prices headed for major spike in wake of Harvey

Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas- the most powerful hurricane to hit the US in more than a decade

Analysts say the hikes will differ greatly by region, with prices in eastern Canada jumping by as much as nine cents per litre.

Gas prices are expected to jump 14 cents in Southern Ontario over the next 24 hours, as flooding from Harvey continues to shake the North American oil market after the storm shut down refineries in Texas and disrupted pipelines across the United States. In Saskatoon, gas prices on average were at $1.02 Thursday and 96 cents last week.

On Friday morning, GasBuddy posted prices of $1.10 a litre in Ottawa, less than $1.08 a litre in Toronto and less than 97 cents a litre in Calgary.

McTeague said Canadian fuel prices are rising faster than U.S. prices because Canada is undersupplied with domestic fuel, causing an overreaction to supply shortages resulting from the closure of key refineries and gas pipelines on the U.S. Gulf Coast. "And with that they'll be able to feed product into the Colonial Pipeline and restore inventories in the northeastern USA", said Michael Ervin, senior vice-president with Kent Group Ltd.

In Western Canada this won't affect gas prices as much.

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

Roger McKnight, senior petroleum analyst with En-Pro International Inc., said he has never seen such a big price increase.

For the second time in a week, gas prices in Regina have spiked.

According to McTeague, people in Saskatchewan should expect to see gas prices increase another five to seven cents per litre throughout the weekend. "We barely have enough for ourselves", he said.

Some parts of Canada are heading into the Labour Day long weekend facing serious gas price hikes, with central Canada taking the brunt of it, analysts say. "We're just not in a position where we can sell spare capacity". That's likely to keep prices high and lead to another spike several months from now as working refineries eventually have to go into maintenance, he said.

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