B.C. drivers will be relieved to know the drop in gas prices they saw over the Canada Day weekend wasn’t a one-off fluke, but rather a downward trend that is expected to stay.
GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis Patrick De Haan told Black Press Media he expects to see the average price at the pump in B.C. drop below $2 per litre in the coming few weeks.
He says it’s part of a global trend as wholesale gas prices decline. Oil is now down about $40 a barrel from its peak in early March when Russia invaded Ukraine, according to De Haan.
Part of this is due to a small improvement in supply, but De Haan says the biggest downward driver is concerns around an economic slowdown.
“That’s what’s been moving the needle,” De Haan said, the fear of a recession.
“I think we’re getting to the point where many consumers have spent the stimulus that was injected into the economy (during the pandemic). I think we’re just running out of steam.”
At their peak, gas prices in Metro Vancouver soared above $2.30 per litre, with the average across the province surmounting $2.20 per litre in June, according to GasBuddy.
During the same period in 2021, the average price in B.C. was about $1.46 per litre and the year before it was just $1.15 per litre.
Oddly enough, British Columbians didn’t see relief this summer until just before the Canada Day long weekend, usually notorious for its hefty pump prices. Then, the average price per litre dropped to about the $2.15-mark across the province, declining even further into the first week of July.
If the economy continues to fare poorly, the price should continue to fall, De Haan says.
He notes that the upcoming hurricane season could impact refining capacity for Canada and the United States, though. That could push the price back up a bit.
And, De Haan adds, any major changes in Russia’s war on Ukraine could also unexpectedly impact gas prices.
“We are in a very tumultuous time, geopolitically speaking,” he says.
If things remain the way they are now though, British Columbians can expect to be paying a little bit less in the coming weeks.