FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Motorists in the B.C. Peace Region heading to the fuel pumps in the next few days are going to be in for a bit of a shock.
At least two gas stations in Fort St. John have increased their price of regular unleaded gasoline from $1.189 per litre to a price of $1.399 per litre. Prices for other fuels have also increased; the price of mid-grade fuel was seen at one station at $1.519/L, premium fuel was selling for $1.579/L, and diesel’s price was $1.439/L.
Senior Gasbuddy.com analyst Dan McTeague said that the wholesale price of gasoline has skyrocketed in the past four or five days. He explained that prices on the Chicago spot market, which also governs gasoline prices from Thunder Bay to the B.C. Interior, have jumped by 50 cents per gallon in the past week.
McTeague said that the jump in prices has been caused by speculation that the Explorer Pipeline’s line that transports fuel from the Gulf Coast to Oklahoma developed a leak last week. According to Reuters, the 660,000 barrel per day pipeline was temporarily repaired late last week after a flange leak was discovered, and that permanent repairs should be made this week.
McTeague said that the leak means that prices have jumped across Western Canada because of the fears of decreasing supply, though he added that the 20 cent/L increase in Fort St. John could be speculation by retailers that prices could go further.
Over the long-term, McTeague said that oil and refined fuel prices are on the rise due to decreases in the crude oil stockpiles that have accumulated worldwide since mid-2014. Despite the fact that fuel prices typically drop in the Fall as refiners switch to producing winter fuels, McTeague said that increasing demand from the United States because of that country’s resurging economy means that higher fuel prices could become the new norm.