As the price of gas in the Comox Valley jumped overnight, experts are warning drivers this may be the beginning of a slow and steady rise at the pump throughout the next few months and into the summer.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy – an online company that offers real-time fuel prices at various stations across the country – said the increase is due to a perfect storm of events.
“A lot of it has to do with the cold weather from the last couple of weeks in Texas. Twenty per cent of refinery capacity shut down, and the price of oil has surged. Also, with improving COVID numbers, more Canadians and Americans are filling up at a much brisker pace (than a year ago),” he explained.
As of Tuesday (March 2), most prices at the pumps across the Valley reached 144.9¢ – up about 10 cents from the previous day.
De Hann noted within the past year, the price of oil had lowered in addition to lower demands for fuel as fewer people travelled due to the pandemic. While the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is meeting shortly to discuss raising production, he said the situation at the pumps may not get better anytime soon.
“We still could be talking about record prices – $1.60 or $1.70/L wouldn’t be out of the question depending on how much production increases.”
He added as summer approaches, demand will likely increase at “a breakneck pace,” with production lagging behind. Because of the low demand last year, many Canadian oil companies had to lay off thousands of employees, which will add to a production lag as it will take time to bring companies back online to full capacity.