Toronto traffic crawls as gas price drops to 50 cents
Published Monday, April 2, 2012 2:13PM EDT
A massive lineup of cars quickly formed in Toronto's east end Monday after it was announced that one gas station had dropped the price of gas to 50 cents per litre.
Hundreds of cars gathered at 759 Eastern Ave., at Leslie Street, to take advantage of a three-hour reprieve from high prices. The deal was announced as part of a promotion for a discount travel agency.
The station dropped the price at 8 a.m., but the lineup began forming much earlier.
"I got here at five o'clock this morning," said Ritchie Persaud, the first in line. "It is worth it. I think it is worth it."
Others appeared willing to put their health at risk to save money on fuel.
"I got up, got dressed and got here," said a woman named Louise. "I haven't had breakfast and I am a diabetic. It's OK, I don't care."
While hundreds of cars waited patiently for hours, as the line wound around corners and down side streets, others attempted to jump to the front and were rebuffed by police.
The deal was announced by an online travel agency via Twitter.
"This is no joke! We're dropping gas again! Get gas for only 50 cents/litre," read a message posted on the Twitter page of @FlightNetwork Sunday.
The discount was limited to 50 litres per vehicle. Jerry cans are not permitted.
The company said the event would run until 11 a.m., but later elected to keep the deal going until its allotted 10,000 litres of fuel had sold.
Gas prices in Toronto have jumped to over $1.35 per litre recently as prices across the country soar ahead of summer.
With the cost of fuel expected to get worse before they get better, a chance to fill up at nearly one-third the market rate stirred hundreds of Torontonians into frenzy.
While there were reports or shouting and arguments between customers, there were no injuries or arrests.
Dan McTeague, a former MP and current gas industry watchdog, says the excitement surrounding Monday's event is a sign of problems in the gas market.
"When you see a lineup this long, almost two kilometres, I thought someone was giving away free money or there was a serious accident," McTeague told CTV Toronto.
"This is a real symbol of how desperate the situation has become for a lot of Canadians."
With files from CTV Toronto's Zuraidah Alman