Motorists can expect a little -- and we stress a little -- relief from record high prices at the pumps ahead of the Canada Day long weekend, according to analysis site Tomorrow’s Gas Price Today.
The site, run by former Liberal MP Dan McTeague, sees prices falling 2 cents per litre in the Toronto area on Friday, and sees prices on a decline for the next seven days across much of the country.
Gas prices hit record highs in many parts of the country over the past few weekends, and analysts say Canadian drivers can continue to expect overall high prices for at least the next three months -- so long as summer weather lasts, and the crisis in Iraq continues.
“It won’t be until September until we start seeing gas prices going down substantially,” Jason Toews, co-founder of GasBuddy.com, told CBC. He expects prices to come down to the $1.30 range, from the $1.40 range it’s in currently in much of the country.
McTeague has been arguing on his website that there is no economic reason for the hikes in the price of oil seen in recent weeks, and that speculators have been “distorting” prices. He says that Canada's focus on exporting crude oil, while allowing refineries to shut down or merge, has raised the price of gas to consumers who have to buy imported, refined oil at a premium.
Despite the tensions in the Middle East, supply of crude oil has never been better, McTeague told CBC.
Rising fuel costs have been eating into Canadians’ consumer spending. National Bank of Canada recently estimated that gas is eating up a record-high portion of retail spending -- some 13 per cent, compared to 10.5 per cent in the U.S.
A Scotiabank report estimated that rising energy costs sucked $4 billion out of the rest of the economy in the first quarter of this year.
Here are gas price breakdowns and trends by major city for the long weekend, as reported on Tomorrow's Gas Price Today.