Canadians aren't likely to see relief at the pumps anytime soon after gas prices shot up to record levels in parts of the country on Saturday.
Some of Canada’s largest cities, including Toronto and Vancouver, saw prices rise more than two cents per litre. In Toronto, gas prices spiked to an average of 140.7 cents per litre.
Dan McTeague, co-founder of the website Tomorrow’s Gas Prices Today, said prices could climb even higher.
“It would look a little bit like panic city for many, especially in Eastern Canada and B.C., where prices have spiked to all-time highs,” McTeague said in an interview on News Channel Saturday.
McTeague said prices in Toronto have not been this high since May 2011, when gas was 141.1 cents per litre.
Some experts say the steep climb at the pumps comes as uncertainty over Iraq’s oil supplies grows amid civil unrest. Armed militants have taken over several cities in the country, forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes.
McTeague said these price increases have little to do with oil shortages or increased demand.
“You’re looking at excessive speculation,” McTeague said. “I think it’s overreaction to a circumstance in which there’s been no proof of any sort of disruption of supply.”
But the spike is causing problems for many Canadians, especially those who rely heavily on their vehicles. Delivery man Dave Keeney says he’s struggling with the added cost.
“If it keeps going up and up I'm probably going to have to change jobs because I just can't afford the gas,” Keeney said.
Bob McNally, president of energy market consulting firm the Rapidan Group, said gas price fluctuation from such faraway events serves as a reminder that the oil market is global.
“A disruption, or a threat of disruption, anywhere can translate into an increase in oil prices everywhere,” McNally told CTV News Channel. “Canada’s motorists, like U.S. motorists, like Norway motorists, will ride the global oil price roller coaster along with everybody else.”
McNally said the turmoil in Iraq is happening at a time when the country, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is supposed to be stepping up.
“Iraq over the next several years is expected to provide 60 per cent of all the oil we expect from OPEC countries,” McNally said.
Threats to the country’s oil production are purely speculative at this point, despite the very real impact they’re having on the market, McNally said.
McNally said he’s optimistic that the insurgents will be contained to the northern part of the country, away from the oil-producing areas, and that oil prices won’t see more than three to five per cent increase.
Gas prices in Canada for June 14:
Read more: No relief in sight as gas prices in B.C., Eastern Canada reach record levels | CTV News (external - login to view)