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Gas Prices and Long Weekend Prices Refresher

Long Weekend gas prices

We've been getting a lot of questions this summer about fluctuating gas prices - and with the long weekend coming up, we're fielding the usual "Why do gas prices seem to go up right before a long weekend?" questions as well. So we thought we'd take this opportunity to discuss both topics in one post!

First of all, when it comes to long weekend gas prices, the idea that the price of gas is being artificially inflated right before a long weekend to cash in on holiday travel is a myth. Whether the price is going up or down, gas prices are always determined by the following (via Natural Resources Canada):

  • Changes in world crude oil prices
  • Availability of supply to meet demand
  • Local competition among retailers
  • Seasonal demand, i.e. the annual spike in demand for gasoline during the summer driving season
  • Inventory levels

So what are some of the factors affecting gasoline prices this summer in particular? We got an update from our pricing team to give us some insight into the current state of gas prices.

1. The Canadian dollar. The world crude oil prices are lower recently and people want to know why they're not seeing those savings at the pump. Part of the reason is that our Canadian dollar has dropped significantly. The world crude oil price has also dropped, but it is priced in U.S. dollars - because the Canadian dollar has lost several cents in recent weeks, the corresponding rise in price for us to purchase crude oil cancels out much of the decline in the world crude price.

2. Commodity prices. Gasoline, like sugar and oranges, is a commodity - meaning that the commodity market determines the wholesale price, not your local gas station owner. Commodity prices for gasoline in the U.S. have remained relatively high over the past few weeks because of surging summer demand (miles driven is up sharply in the U.S.) and there have been some refinery issues this summer which have led to a tight supply. High demand and low supply in the U.S. have a corresponding impact on Canadian prices.

3. Tax increases. There have been some significant tax increases on gasoline in certain regions this year, for example in Alberta, and because of the Cap and Trade system introduced in Quebec.

4. Regional differences in pricing. Obviously pricing will vary from region to region based on supply, demand, local taxes and local competition between gas stations. Here in Vancouver, for example, gas is usually at least 15¢ more per litre than in my hometown of Edmonton, because provincial fuel taxes are higher and our municipality charges a significant transit tax on gasoline. For more information about how local taxes affect gas prices in your province, check out Petro-Canada's page about gasoline taxes across Canada.

5. Perception. When gas prices fluctuate frequently, it's frustrating but it may not represent a trend towards consistently higher pricing. Based on Kent Marketing's analysis of gas prices a few weeks ago, the average price of gasoline in Canada is still lower this year than last year (see graphic below).

Gas prices year over year

For more information about how gas prices work, visit our Gas Pricing archive here on PumpTalk or our FAQs on Gas Prices. And for ways to save on gas and increase your own fuel efficiency, check out the Ways to Save on Fuel infographic.


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Chuck LeBlanc

The price of gas, has been and will be



Sounds like BS Canadian dollar is down yes so they are also buying our oil with a discount. Next, the refinery issue is continually used such as the winter was extreme and the refineries could not run however we can somehow process at -40 up north. Your graph of this years pricing and last years pricing does not show 2008-2010 when the barrel was at $150 and the price at the pump was $1.50 a litre. We had high demend with US driving a lot then too. The only thing true here is the Comodity Market driving up prices falsely through the big corporations and esp. Oil Corps making the best profits ever.

Kathleen Friesen

Absolute drivel. You must think we the public are total morons! With oil prices at near record lows, Petro Can upped the price in Vernon, BC, from 120.9/litre to 129.9 yesterday. How coincidental that this is a long weekend!


Absolutely don't believe a word of the psychobabble double triple talk used to justify the continual increases in gas prices - and the endless price hikes of everything from groceries to clothes to housing. The cost of gas is what they can gouge us for. Prices are so far out of proportion to value and to wages, it is economic destruction off the scale. There are only two words needed to accurately sum up the reasons for all of it: OBSCENE GREED


bunch of bs.... price over $100 per barrel a year ago and now your trying to justify the prices today...give your head a shake...
just wish the public would organize for once to show we are not okay with this...


Garbage garbage they must all think we re stupid. Up until now it was high price of oil that they parroted every time the price spiked. It s just plain old greed nothing else lets get the word out

Gary Dillman

You should add a couple columns to your graph, oil price per barrel this year as compared to last year. But that would show how much you really are over priced. Any other business that overcharged like gas companise would be out of business.


Lets see. Last year oil was +$100/barrel and gas sold for a high of $1.299 here. Now oil is between $38-$50/ barrel, depending on the day and gas is $1.169. So, when your base material depreciates by 50%, you lower the price of your product $0.12?? and you justify this by closing refineries on the south coast of the US for "maintenance"?

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