The price of regular gasoline in Estevan has risen by 10 cents or more at some places recently, and it's a trend that an expert in the field expects to continue.
According to Patrick DeHaan, a GasBuddy Petroleum Analyst, increases in fuel prices are a trend that is forecasted to continue in the coming weeks and even months.
“In the weeks ahead, we are starting the transition to summer gasoline, which is primarily seeing prices jumping,” says DeHaan. “Provincially, Saskatchewan now seeing prices up six cents from a week ago. The average is about 149.5 [cents per litre], which is a number that could climb 15-35 cents per litre by Victoria Day.”
Prices in Estevan ranged from 139.9 cents per litre of regular to 153.9 on Thursday.
“A lot of it is because of the changeover happening at a time that refineries are doing maintenance," said DeHaan. "Which limits their ability to produce as much summer gasoline as they can.”
In addition, the summer gasoline changeover process is very complex.
“There are dozens of different types of summer gasoline. As the transition is happening refineries are building inventories up from zero. Essentially there is no holdover summer gasoline, so supplies are extremely tight as the transition happens.”
Also, different parts of the United States and Canada switched to different types of summer gasoline, which feeds into the price increases.
“The bigger price increases materialize from the logistical challenges, the lack of supply, and the fact that summer gasoline costs more to produce because of its cleaner components.”
Though the price of fuel has gone up, DeHaan did mention that the oil market has stayed somewhat steady in recent months, which is a big difference from a year ago.
“Oil prices have been stuck between $73-$83/barrel in the last several months. That has allowed gas prices to be relatively low compared to a year ago. In Saskatchewan, prices are actually 17 cents lower than they were a year ago. The Canadian national average is at about 151.0 cents per litre, down from 183.0 a year ago.”
The somewhat lower oil prices are due to COVID-19 cases rising in China, Russia’s ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and economic uncertainty.
On Thursday morning, Fort St. John, BC, came in with the most expensive fuel price at 193.3 cents per litre, while Medicine Hat, Atla., has the lowest price at 115.9.