A fuel expert says this winter is about to bring more pain to Thunder Bay drivers — but this time they'll feel it at the gas pumps.

Petroleum analyst Roger McKnight said this is the time of year when oil refineries normally start producing more gasoline. However, the cold weather means they still have to keep up with the demand for home heating oil.

Refineries ramp up their gasoline production this time of year because they're preparing for the driving season, which starts the Victoria Day weekend, he said.

Oil refineries are “in a bit of a pickle,” McKnight continued. “They have to shut down to make more gasoline. But if they do that, then they're driving down the supply of heating oil and diesel fuel, which is, politically, not a very popular thing to do."

McKnight predicted that, if less gasoline is produced, the price will go up by eight cents per litre.

"I really pray I'm wrong, but I've looked at all the ins and outs of this and I'm sticking my neck out saying we're going up eight [cents] by the end of March,” he said.

“Which will put [gas prices] at about $1.42-something in the Thunder Bay area."

The price hike will also affect most of Canada.

McKnight said the falling Canadian dollar will also contribute to the price hike.

As spring approaches, however, gas prices will likely go down again, he added.