Andrew Russell, National Online Reporter – Despite gas shortage, gas prices should remain stable this summer: Roger McKnight

By Andrew RussellNational Online Reporter  Global News

lineup of cars at pumpsGas prices soar in Newfoundland and Labrador as new tax comes into effect (June 2)

Industry analysts predict smooth sailing at the pumps for the summer driving season despite the recent gas shortages in Western Canada and the spike in the cost of gasoline in Newfoundland and Labrador.

While drivers on the east and west coasts of Canada had some cause for concern last week, experts believe gas prices will remain stable this summer barring any unforeseen weather or geo-political events.

“The prices you see today are probably about as high as they are going to go,” Roger McKnight, a chief petroleum analyst with En-Pro International Inc. “They will remain stable or begin to fall quite noticeably over the next three weeks.”

out of gas sign GNews

McKnight said in “12 of the last 13 years” the highest prices for gas prices peak around mid-April to the first weekend in May as refineries gear up for the summer driving season.

“The prices will start to fall as a matter of fact because the U.S. inventories are well above the five year average and the inventories of crude oil are the highest in history,” he said.

He added that the gas shortages in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and B.C. were caused by an outage at a Suncor refinery in Edmonton and the Fort McMurray wildfires that resulted in a cut in oil production.

Dan McTeague, a senior petroleum analyst for gasbuddy.com, said drivers in Ontario and Quebec will see cheaper prices this summer, while most of the Maritimes will see similar prices compared to last year.

“Newfoundland and Labrador will unfortunately, because of the tax increase, see far more expensive prices than last year,” said McTeague. “[In Western Canada] right now it looks like they are paying a little bit more but by mid-summer we could see those prices drop. Vancouver will also be down five or six cents compared to what they paid last year.”

Newfoundland and Labrador saw gas prices jump roughly 20 cents overnight last week, a new provincial tax kicked to make up for deal with a soaring deficit.

However, McTeague said the fluctuating loonie could also affect how much Canadian drivers pay at the pump.

“This summer could be one of the better ones going back to 2010,” he said. “The prices tend to be very reflective and indicative of what we’ve been able to see, is that a slightly warmer winter led to higher inventories in the United States for a gasoline, and that probably applies to Canada.”