A tracker of gasoline prices predicts that parts of Ontario are in for an ‘eye-popping’ jump at the pump amid the impact of tropical storm Harvey on Houston and the U.S. oil infrastructure.
Dan McTeague, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, warned areas including Toronto, London, Ottawa and Hamilton they could see a hike in gas prices of nine to 10 cents per litre on Saturday, on top of a projected rise of five cents per litre on Friday.
Gas Price Alert# Toronto #GTA #hamilton #LdnOnt #Ottawa #Ontario to 👀an eye popping hike of 8 + cts/l HIKE Sat on top of Friday’s 5 ct hike
If that projection holds, prices would hit between $1.329 and $1.339 per litre on Saturday — the highest pump prices paid in the area since September 2014, McTeague said in an interview with CBC News.
“We may see even higher prices Sunday and into next week,” he said.
Prices in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe region (Oshawa to St. Catharines) were already up by three cents a litre on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Roger McKnight, chief petroleum analyst for En-Pro International, said prices are expected to rise by five cents a litre Friday and seven cents on Saturday.
Increases like that would push the price to $1.309 a litre in the Greater Toronto Area by Saturday, McKnight tweeted.
The pump price predictions come as the fallout continues from the devastating hit on the Houston area before Harvey moved to the Louisiana coast. The storm has resulted in the shutdown of roughly 25 per cent of the refining output of the United States, Reuters reported.
Pipeline shut down
On Thursday, U.S. gasoline prices shot up after Colonial Pipeline Co, which runs the biggest U.S. fuel transport system, announced it would shut its main lines to the U.S. northeast, citing outages at pumping points and lack of supply from refiners, Reuters said.
The U.S. national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has risen from about $2.35 US a week ago to hit $2.45 US.
Tweeted McTeague: “As I had been warning …. the closure of America’s proverbial gasoline aortic artery — the Colonial Pipeline spells much higher prices.”
“Potential shortage with 30% production of gasoline offline in US will have US suppliers snapping up scarce Canadian supplies if price low,” he wrote in another tweet.
McKnight said in a posting on Facebook that flooding from Harvey has affected pump stations along the Colonial pipeline that feed gasoline into the U.S. Northeast, “including New York where gasoline futures prices are set.”
“Ontario prices follow the wholesale price changes in Buffalo and Syracuse,” McKnight said.
As supply to the U.S. Northeast has tightened, “prices in both locations are spiking forcing prices up north of the border because gas prices in Canada are made in the USA.”
The impact of Harvey on gasoline supplies and prices also comes as Canada and the United States head into the Labour Day weekend, which usually means more people on the road.