Heating oil, diesel, gas prices drop sharply on Prince Edward Island

Heating oil and diesel prices remain high, but the price of gas is relatively low for this time of year.  (Richie Bulger/CBC - image credit)
Heating oil and diesel prices remain high, but the price of gas is relatively low for this time of year. (Richie Bulger/CBC - image credit)

In the fourth unscheduled change this month, P.E.I.'s Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission allowed prices for heating oil, diesel and gas to drop on Wednesday morning.

All three products took big price decreases.

  • Heating oil is down 20 cents to a maximum of $1.88 per litre.

  • The minimum price at the pump for diesel fell 11.5 cents per litre to $2.85.

  • The minimum price at the pump for gas fell 8.1 cents per litre to $1.72.

IRAC normally reviews petroleum product prices weekly, on Fridays. The four unscheduled changes this month are the most since March, the month after Russia's invasion of Ukraine brought turmoil to world oil markets. That month featured six unscheduled changes.

The spike in prices for heating oil and diesel this month are related to an unexpected increase in the price of kerosene, a critical blending ingredient for those two fuels, said Allison MacEwen, IRAC's director of regulatory services.

P.E.I. petroleum product prices

Early this month, while some refineries were shutting down for scheduled fall maintenance, a refinery in Rotterdam closed for emergency maintenance, and three in France were shut down by a strike. That caused a shortage of supply just as demand was climbing due to colder weather coming to Canada while the harvest was still underway in the U.S.

While it may seem like IRAC has been adjusting the price a lot this month it has not, in fact, been able to keep up with price fluctuations, MacEwen said. As a result, some Island distributors have lost money.

"There are times when they delivered product to their customer base, who they value and want to look after, but they did it at a loss," he said.

"On a sustained basis that's just not workable."

The French refinery strike is now over, said MacEwen, and that will hopefully settle prices down.

While the lower price for heating oil will be a particular relief as the weather on P.E.I. turns cold, it remains well above where it has been most of the year.

Diesel prices also remain higher than records set in May.

The current price of gas, while high by historical standards, is relatively low compared to what it has been for much of 2022.