It may just be the theme song for oil companies across the country this week.
Prices have skyrocketed since Canada Day, and even with the end of the long weekend, they haven’t come down. And most analysts don’t expect them to anytime soon. Some stations are selling gas as high as $1.08 per litre around town.
And that may seem like a bargain soon. The costs are already 20 percent above what they were last year at this time, when we were all complaining about rates that sat at around 85 cents a litre.
The calendar’s changed but the beefs sound all too familiar.
“They keep climbing and it’s getting a little bit out of control,” sighs Kevin Kelly. “I think with the government not being around at this time of the year, it’s affecting everybody. They should be in there forcing the gas companies to watch themselves.”
“Oh, they’re killing us,” gripes Steve Wilson. “I got six kids at home. I can’t afford to even fuel my car now.”
Cathy Newton is trying to look on the bright side. “It just causes you to go with other people maybe and take their car and park it somewhere and take one car and share the price,” she muses.
Wilson is furious that the prices go down at night. During Wednesday night’s darkness, the price was a still hefty 94 cents. That now seems like a real deal.
“When I was growing you never saw this,” he fumes. “Now it seems everybody says “Oh, it’s rush hour. Let’s charge more.” I’m now waiting up until 11:00 at night just to fill my car.”
So what’s causing this rise in prices and tempers? Crude reached an all time record of around $75 a barrel on Wednesday, the highest level in 23 years.
Experts say the pump jumps are being fueled by a combination of tensions in the Middle East, the North Korean missile crisis, the start of hurricane season in the U.S. and higher overall consumer demand in the summer.
It’s so bad, you can’t even notice the one percent GST cut that kicked in on July 1st.
And you won’t for a while.
“The oil companies don’t actually make a lot of money, hard to believe though that that is,” contends Gavin Graham of the Guardian Group of Funds. “They’re only making 3 or 4 cents a litre, but the price is likely to remain higher for longer. You should expect to pay over $1 a litre for the rest of this summer at least.”
Still, while we complain, we also consume. The latest numbers from C.A.A. indicate more than 62,000 motorists have car trips planned for Canada, the U.S. and Mexico this summer.
Eastern Canada is the leading choice for those heading out on the open road. And drivers like Wilson have reached the end of the road.
“I usually go up north,” he points out. “I go up camping in Ottawa. It’s not happening this year. I can’t afford the drive.”
But we’re getting off easy compared to other parts of the country. Here’s a look at some recent prices from the Atlantic to the Pacific for a litre of regular.
North Bay: $1.05.9
Quebec City: $1.06.4
Thunder Bay: $1.13.8
Saint John, N.B.: $1.12.5
St. John’s, Nfld.: $1.14.2
Sault Ste. Marie: $1.07.2
(Courtesy: M.J. Ervin & Associates)