Fuelling up in Edmonton costs 36 per cent more than last year

The city’s latest economic newsletter says gasoline and shelter costs are to blame for the steady rise in our regional inflation rate, which is up to 3.1 per cent in June.

Edmonton inflation rate above national average, says city's chief economist

The latest economic newsletter says gasoline and shelter costs are to blame for the steady rise in Edmonton's regional inflation rate. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Drivers in Edmonton are paying 36 per cent more for gas than at the same time last year.

The city's latest economic newsletter says gasoline and shelter costs are to blame for the steady rise in our regional inflation rate, which was up to 3.1 per cent in June.

"Our inflation rate is now above the national average … that's not a good thing," says John Rose, the city's chief economist.

GasBuddy.com shows the average price per litre in Edmonton has gone up 34.7 cents a lire from the same time last year. (GasBuddy.com)

As of Friday, gas in Edmonton was averaging 128.3 cents a litre, according to GasBuddy.com — about 34.6 cents higher than the price of 93.7 cents per litre at this time last year.

"It's a pretty substantial, dramatic, jaw-dropping increase this year," said Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.com.

"That, in and of itself, represents a pretty significant sting to most consumers, whether it's for diesel or for gasoline."

McTeague said that for an average driver using 60 litres per week, the hike equates to an additional $20 weekly — or about $1,100 more a year.

He also noted that gas retailers in Edmonton have changed the way they operate and are no longer willing to sell gas for less than what they paid.

"Retailers in Edmonton have traditionally really beaten themselves up on what's called their operating margin ... we're not seeing it as frequently this year," said McTeague.

Housing also to blame

Rose said a recovery in oil prices is putting the pinch on consumers clear across the country. In Edmonton, he said, home prices are also to blame.

"What we saw from approximately 2014 right through to quite recently was that costs for housing — both owned accommodation and rental accommodation —  were coming down, but we're beginning to see a turnaround in the cost for owned accommodation," he said.

"Things like home heating, electricity, water … those costs are up by slightly over three per cent on a year-over-year basis."

But it's not all doom and gloom. Rose said higher gas prices may be encouraging people to take transit and reconsider their modes of transportation.

"You'll see people taking a second look at whether or not they want to have a pickup truck or a large SUV."

In the long term, Rose is predicting a "moderate" inflation rate, dropping back down to two or 2.5 per cent.

Since 2002, the average price for commodities like groceries, rent and clothes in Edmonton have increased by 40 per cent. The national average is about 34 per cent.