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Toronto drivers to see a 'very painful summer at the pumps' as steep prices continue: expert

Gas prices are displayed in Carleton Place, Ont. on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick Gas prices are displayed in Carleton Place, Ont. on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
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The average price of a litre of regular fuel in the GTA rose another two cents overnight and now stands at $1.64.9, according to tracking website Gas Wizard.

That is the highest price gas has reached so far in 2024 and is about 10 per cent more per litre than drivers were pack at this time last year.

“We’re really seeing prices move up much higher much earlier in the year,” industry analyst Dan McTeague told CTV News Toronto on Thursday. “And we have that date in about 10 days from now, when we could see anywhere between a 10 and a 12 cents a litre increase as we shift from winter to summer gasoline blends [which are] a lot more expensive to make.”

Gasoline prices have increased four per cent month-over-month in February after a 4 per cent year-over-year decline in January.

According to McTeague, who is also the president of lobby group Canadian’s For Affordable Energy, the continued cost increases reflect the cost of oil, and is additionally affected by carbon tax.

“On this day last year, gasoline prices in the GTA, Toronto, also Southern Ontario were 10 cents a litre less,” McTeague said.

“This time last year, [oil] was trading for $80 a barrel, today it’s about $85, maybe even $86. The second [factor], of course, is carbon tax. Between those two factors, six cents, roughly for a difference in oil prices and about four cents – 3.73, to be exact – for currently increasing carbon taxes that gives you your increase; but we’re really seeing prices move up much higher.”

As of April 1, the price on carbon pollution in Canada went up by $15 per tonne. It is part of the federal government’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is set to increase each year until 2030, depending on provincial and territorial levies.

For gasoline, the tax will be 17.6 cents per litre, up about 3.3 cents per litre.

Diesel will go up about 4 cents per litre.

McTeague said that there may be temporary relief in costs as demand from the United States, Europe and China falters.

But he said that drivers can expect much higher prices come this summer.

“It’s likely we’re going to see a period of comfortable before a very painful summer at the pumps that will be in fact the proverbial summer of our discontent as far as travel is concerned,” he warned.

In 2022 gas prices surged due to a number of geopolitical factors and at one point hit a record 214.9 cents per litre in the GTA.

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