Ontario gas prices headed for major spike in wake of Harvey

REUTERS

This recent soar in gas prices is caused by the devastation to the Gulf Coast caused by Hurricane Harvey, which interrupted supplies to the East Coast.

Fill'er up - all the way up. gas prices are predicted to spike in Mississauga on Saturday, just in time for the Labour Day long weekend.

Dan McTeague, senior gas analyst at GasBuddy.com, calls it "the Hurricane Harvey Effect" as the storm has a major pipeline and 16 refineries in the United States offline. Marie, Thunder Bay, and Timmins have been reporting the highest gas prices, in the range of 131.9 to 133.9 cents per litre. At the start of the week, prices were about $1.14 a litre.

McTeague said although Alberta doesn't import gasoline from the USA, the prices are based on the larger market conditions.

The Canadian average gasoline price has risen above $1.16 per litre, according to GasBuddy. That translates to about 75 cents USA per gallon, he said, adding typical U.S. increases in affected states have been only about 20 cents per gallon.

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"Despite the country's overall oil and gasoline inventories being at or above five-year highs, until there is clear picture of damage and an idea when refineries can return to full operational status, gas prices will continue to increase", said Jeanette Casselano, a AAA spokeswoman.

"The supply is having to come from different areas farther away.You know they are having to truck gas in from different areas from different regions, and that raises the price", Tim Taylor, Manager of Smith's Chevron said.

TD Securities analyst Bart Melek said in a note Friday he expects crude oil prices to strengthen to above US$50 per barrel before the end of September as Houston refineries, ocean import facilities and pipelines gradually return to normal operations.

“And they will — theres a shortage coming out of the United States, ” McTeague said. There is enough gasoline to meet needs, especially with Edmonton and Regina refineries alongside smaller ones elsewhere.

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