Gasoline price volatility shocks Comox Valley motorists

Many Comox Valley motorists were caught off guard Tuesday afternoon when gas prices jumped more than 10 cents at pumps around the area.

THE PRICE OF gas jumped more than 10 cents at pumps around the Comox Valley on Tuesday afternoon

THE PRICE OF gas jumped more than 10 cents at pumps around the Comox Valley on Tuesday afternoon

Many Comox Valley motorists were caught off guard Tuesday afternoon when gas prices jumped more than 10 cents at pumps around the area.Prices rose as high as $1.439 per litre at some stations before dropping to $1.349 per litre at some pumps Wednesday, where they remained as of Thursday afternoon. Jason Toews, Gasbuddy.com co-founder, a website dedicated to tracking gas prices and trends across Canada, said one of the reasons for the spike is refinery issues on the west coast of the U.S., which directly impacts B.C.”Gas prices are dictated by the law of supply and demand, and with issues at a refinery, this directly impacts the supply,” he explained. “Add this to the summer driving season and the weaker Canadian dollar compared to the U.S. is not helping.”A fire on the central crude distillation unit at a BP refinery in February near Cherry Point, Wash., closed the refinery, but it reopened this month. The refinery is the third-largest on the West Coast. According to reports, Phillips 66, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Tesoro Corp were performing maintenance at three of the five refineries in the San Francisco area, which dropped gasoline supplies on the West Coast to the lowest level since December 2008.Toews noted it’s not out of the question to see prices rise even higher this summer, even reaching $1.50 per litre.”That’s quite possible. The one wild card in all of this how long until the refinery issues will be resolved?” As of Thursday, the average price per litre of in B.C. was $1.381, while the current Canadian average sat at $1.269 per litre. The least expensive pump price, according to Gasbuddy.com, is reported in Edmonton at $1.019 per litre. Despite the rising prices, Toews said prices could come down to around $1.30 per litre, but doesn’t believe they will drop much lower throughout the summer.• • •Have rising gas prices affected your summer travel plans? Have you had to change or cancel trips because of the cost of fuel, or do you think prices at the pump will drop or remain the same throughout the summer? Share your comments on the Record’s Facebook page and let us know what you think.photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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