High Gas Prices Dampen Long Weekend Spirit
VANCOUVER - As Canadians head into the first unofficial long weekend of the warmer seasons, many road-trippers and cottage-goers have soaring gas prices top of mind.
The Angus Reid Institute has released results of its latest survey, suggesting more than 40 per cent of Canadians said the hikes in gas prices have made it difficult to afford basic home necessities. This jumps to 86 per cent among those struggling to afford gas, the survey noted. The poll results also reveal nearly 70 per cent of drivers have noticed a "major increase" at the pumps.
In British Columbia, a whopping 90 per cent of drivers reported a "major increase" in prices, compared to 46 per cent in Alberta who said they had noticed a "major increase".
B.C. residents have been paying the most at the pumps, with the provincial average for the cost of gas is sitting at $1.58 cents per litre, compared to the national average of $1.26 per litre, according to the Canadian Automobile Association. The average price of gasoline in major Canadian markets last week was about $1.34 per litre, but it varied from around $1.23 in Calgary and Winnipeg to the high of $1.70 or more in Vancouver.
"Vancouver certainly is (at historic highs) but the other major markets we're looking at, such as Calgary, Toronto, Halifax, Montreal, they're not exceeding historical levels, they're basically at historic levels,” Michael Ervin, senior vice-president at the Kent Group Ltd., said.
In Ontario, the average gas price across the province is hovering at $1.27 per litre, and those living in the Greater Toronto Area can expect another increase, according to GasBuddy.com’s Dan McTeague. The analyst suggests the uptick in the U.S. markets and the "geopolitical jitters" in the Persian Gulf is the reason for the latest spike in cost of fuel.
"As we know, Iran has its oil blockaded by the United States, the sanctions are taking affect," McTeague said. "Iran is not happy with that, and there were some instances earlier in the week that caused a lot of speculators to get a little concerned."
McTeague also noted the U.S. economy "is on fire" and the "reality is it's the markets that went up by an equivalent amount".
Another recent poll, this one conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Toyota Canada, revealed that almost half (47 per cent) of Canadians said they are less likely to take a road trip this summer as a result of high gas prices. Those living in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are the least likely to hit the road this summer.
"The data we gleaned demonstrates the real-life challenges Canadians are facing as they try to make their summer plans without the costs of getting there taking up the whole budget," said Toyota Canada’s Stephen Beatty.
For those living in Quebec and Alberta, 45 per cent said gas prices had no impact on their plans for a road trip this summer.
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