Toronto

Ontario gas prices jump to $1.79/litre overnight

Drivers looking to fill up their tanks in the GTA were greeted with higher prices at the pumps Thursday, as the cost of a litre of gasoline rose roughly 14 cents overnight to $1.79.

Analyst says carbon tax, geopolitical issues and fuel blend change are driving rising prices

Toronto drivers gas up on April 18, 2024, after an overnight fuel price hike saw a litre of gasoline reach $1.80.
Toronto drivers gas up on April 18, 2024, after an overnight fuel price hike saw a litre of gasoline reach $1.80. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Drivers looking to fill up their tanks in the GTA were greeted with higher prices at the pumps Thursday, as the cost of a litre of gasoline rose roughly 14 cents overnight to $1.79.

Dan McTeague, who runs GasWizard — a website that tracks fuel prices, says the cost of gas hasn't been as high since August 2022. The sudden jump in price is attributable to three main factors, he said.

"It's the perfect trifecta," said McTeague, who is also president of the advocacy group Canadians for Affordable Energy.

"Tensions in the Middle East, the carbon tax increase and the switch-over which happens semi-annually from winter to summer gasoline," he explained.

Drivers at a gas station in Toronto's east end said the price increase will make life even more unaffordable amid a cost-of-living crisis that has driven up the costs of many basic necessities.

WATCH | Ontarians react to price jump at the pump: 

Ontarians hit with sticker shock at the pumps

1 month ago
Duration 0:51
With gas prices spiking overnight, the question of how people are going to afford rent and groceries was top of mind for some Ontarians.
 

"I do a lot of driving for work, so it means my monthly expenses are going to grow," said Tamara Moos. 

"And they've already been growing, between grocery prices and rent prices. It's not great, it's sort of unsustainable living here right now."

McTeague says higher gas prices each spring are partly due to the change-over in fuel blends, going from the cheaper winter blend to the more costly summer blend of fuel.

"There is a chemical differential, and that's pretty substantial. In the winter, we use butane as one of the primary mixtures," he said. "When it gets cold, you want something that ignites better."

"When it's warm, you don't want something that's that volatile. In order to reduce any damage to the environment, you blend it with something called alkylates, which are extremely expensive."

Dan McTeague, Energy Analyst, Tomorrow's Gas Prices Today.com Says gas prices in Canada have dropped an average 14 cents a litre over past 2 weeks. Expect another 2 cent drop Thur in most of Ont, Sask, BC & Albt. Predicts 1 cent drop in Quebec tomorrow.
Energy analyst Dan McTeague says the rising price of gas is fueled by the carbon tax increase, along with tensions in the Middle East and a change to the summer blend of gas. (Simon Dingley/CBC)

McTeague predicts the price of gas will continue to rise throughout the summer, but notes it's hard to say how expensive a litre of gas could eventually become.

"We have to look at summer demand, which begins its kickoff on the May 24 weekend," McTeague said, adding that severe weather, such as hurricanes in the Atlantic, and geopolitical events play a part in the price of oil per barrel.

McTeague says Canadians can expect the price of gas to cool in September, but come January, it should rise again once a second carbon tax hits the pumps.

He also has some advice for people in the Greater Toronto Area looking to save even a few dollars and cents on gas.

"Gas stations only have control over nine cents a litre at best." he said. "I was in Peterborough yesterday. I could still get gasoline there for $1.55.9. I don't expect people to pick up in Toronto and drive to Peterborough, but there are places, as close as Oshawa or Hamilton, where you will find that kind of 'wild west' cutthroat competition in the last nine cents."

He also suggests filling your tank on evenings or weekends to save a few bucks.