Gas prices are expected to rise to just under $2.00 a litre in the Greater Toronto Area on Sunday, an expert on energy pricing says.
Motorists should fill their tanks on Saturday night to avoid the four cent increase from 195.9 to 199.9 cents a litre, according to Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, an advocacy group.
"Do what I did just before leaving to go see my mum," McTeague said on Saturday. "I filled up. As difficult as it was, I paid $1.959. But tomorrow morning, it will be four cents more more and the price is likely to stay at or go much higher than what I'm paying today.
"If you see it for less than $1.95, fill her up."
Gas prices are expected, unless the Russian war in Ukraine ends, to be high well into summer and likely into the new year, he said. Meanwhile, 199.9 cents per litre will be a common feature at most gas stations in the GTA on Sunday.
McTeague said the rise in prices is due to a number of factors, including high global demand for diesel, gasoline and oil, a shortage of supply, a weak Canadian dollar, the war in Ukraine and the closure of three refineries in the past year in North America. These include Philadelphia Energy Solutions on the U.S. northeast and Come by Chance in Newfoundland.
Additional supplies are not coming from Europe because of the war, he added.
Prices were expected to rise by the May long weekend but it's happening faster than expected, he said.
"Nothing is normal now," he said. "This is going to be a long-term situation. And getting used to it is going to be part of making our way through life in the near future."
Gas prices are expected to rise in the next couple of weeks to $2.10 a litre, unless Russian President Vladimir Putin announces that the Russian war in Ukraine is over on May 9, the country's Victory Day. The day marks the Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany.
"If he doesn't make a declaration, which I think is remote, saying that he will end the war, I suspect that we're going to be looking at upward pressure on diesel, gasoline and oil prices," McTeague said.
If Putin does declare that the war has ended, McTeague said such an announcement would likely mean a 10 cent or 15 cent a litre decrease, which means pump prices of $1.80, maybe $1.75. Two weeks ago, he noted, gas prices in the GTA were $1.62 a litre.
McTeague said he is keeping a close eye on what happens around the U.S. Memorial Day weekend, the official launch of summer demand for gas and driving season. Memorial Day is on May 30.
"You know, people still have to drive. They have no choice. It's other things that are going to be sacrificed as opposed to getting from point A to point B," he said.
The increase in prices is hitting home, he added. For a family driving a Toyota Sienna van, consuming 50 litres a week, the price has gone up about $35 a tankful a week. That amount, multiplied by 52 weeks in the year, means the family is paying another $1,800 a year for gas.
In terms of the Ontario election campaign, McTeague said gas prices are on the radar.
"I think it's a huge issue and it falls into the category of affordability," he said.
Greens promise incentives for electric cars, bikes
On Saturday, Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner announced that the party will try to make life more affordable and address climate change by helping people to bike and drive electric. The Ontario Greens said if elected, they would:
Offer incentives of up to $10K for new electric cars and $1K used electric cars.
Offer incentives of $1K for e-bikes.
Make electric vehicles more accessible by expanding and improving charging infrastructure across the province.
"Gas prices are up to a staggering $2 a litre this weekend and could reach as high as $2.10 a litre by the end of the month.," Schreiner said in a news release.
"Fossil fuels are expensive, harming our health and polluting the air."