Last week, the gas prices in Houston were at $1.29, a sharp rise from $1.13 in December last year. (Laura Blackwell photo/Houston Today)

Last week, the gas prices in Houston were at $1.29, a sharp rise from $1.13 in December last year. (Laura Blackwell photo/Houston Today)

Gas prices continue to show an upward trend

Analysts warn of higher prices this summer

The gas prices in Houston have continued to see a rise.

Last week, the gas prices were at $1.29, a sharp rise from $1.13 in December last year.

February saw a roughly two cent increase in gas prices throughout the province, mainly due to a five cent increase from wholesalers. Analyst Dan McTeague told Black Press Media last month that he estimated gas to go as high as $1.70 per litre in the Lower Mainland and $1.38 per litre elsewhere in the province, by summer.

He also said that there were three factors involved in the expected summer rise: summer driving demand, decreased global production and increased carbon prices.

The provincial carbon tax is scheduled for an increase from $40 to $45 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) starting in April 2021, and going up to $50 per tCO2e in 2022. This increase was postponed last year due to COVID-19. As the pandemic subsides, McTeague expects the government to double up the planned increase with two years-worth in one, for a total of 2.5 cents-per-litre.

According to Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, the rise in prices is partly a response to people turning optimistic on COVID-19 recovery.

“We’ve been seeing insatiable demand for gasoline, which continues to recover far faster than oil production. According to GasBuddy data, last week’s gasoline demand was just 1 per cent below the pre-pandemic level, an extremely bullish factor likely to continue driving gas and oil prices up in the short term,” he said.

“The recovery in the last few weeks has been astounding; both the speed and overall volume increases we’ve seen in our data lend credibility to the recovery, and perhaps will lead to continued price increases due to the continued imbalance between supply and demand.”

De Haan also said that it was no longer a question of if we’ll see gasoline demand return to near normal this year but when, and if oil producers rise to the occasion and are able to quickly ramp up output, or whether we will see the highest summer prices since 2014 until they jump into action would be something to see.

Last week however, the upward gas price streak saw a temporary break. According to De Haan, “With oil prices finally sagging over the last week on inflation fears and worries about a surge in COVID-19 cases in Europe impacting oil demand, motorists filling their tanks may soon see a brief respite from rising gas prices.”

He also said that while a lot of areas saw a rise in gas prices, we might see some price decreases in the weeks ahead.

“It’ll be a bumpy road the next few weeks as markets sort out the bearish and bullish factors, but I still believe prices will likely experience more upward momentum ahead of Memorial Day,” he said.

The gas prices along the route from Prince George to Houston last week were Vanderhoof at $1.29 cents, Fort Fraser at $1.32 and Burns Lake at $1.31.

The average gas price for the Bulkley Nechako Regional District according to Gas buddy is at $1.39.

– With files from Zoe Ducklow

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