Metro Vancouver gas prices soar to the highest of the year

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Gas prices surged in Metro Vancouver over the weekend, and the pain at the pump is going to get worse.

On Sunday, one Coquitlam station posted a price of $2.13, while in Vancouver the price at some pumps topped out at $2.12.

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These are the highest gas prices of 2023 in the Pacific Northwest, and prices could continue to rise by another five cents a litre before the end of the week, according to Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy.

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“I wouldn’t be surprised to see $2.20 before things calm down,” said McTeague.

“This is a year unlike anything else we’ve seen before,” said McTeague. “Supply is dwindling and demand is still extraordinarily strong, not just in North America but around the world. Tightening supply keeps things much higher for much longer.”

A number of factors are affecting local prices said McTeague, including a refinery fire on Friday in Louisiana, supply challenges, a shrinking Canadian dollar and taxes.

Vancouver drivers shell out close to 80 cents a litre in taxes and levies, about double what Ontario drivers pay.

At $2.12 a litre, taxes and levies include a TransLink levy of 18.5 cents, a dedicated fuel tax of 6.75 cents, a provincial motor fuel tax of 1.75 cents, a federal carbon tax of 14.31 cents, BCLCFS (The British Columbia Low Carbon Fuel Standard) averaging 17 cents and 10.2 cents in GST, said McTeague.

The change of seasons could bring some relief after the September long weekend.

“We are heading toward the drop in summer demand driving, and that’s going to bode well for us all. That’s usually when we get a bit of a break,” said McTeague.

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Summer prices aren’t just due to higher demand. “Summer gasoline is a different spec,” said McTeague. “When we switch over to winter gasoline that tends to drop it about four to five cents a litre.”

When prices drop this fall, McTeague said we may be looking at a “new normal,” with prices levelling out to about two dollars per litre, rather than lows comparable to the fall of 2022. On Dec. 8, 2022, gas dropped to $1.56 in the Lower Mainland.

To get an idea of when prices will be at their lowest each week (usually Wednesday), McTeague suggests checking his website on Monday nights to get price projections.

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