British Columbia

Russia-Ukraine crisis causes Vancouver gas prices to spike

Experts say spiking gas prices in Metro Vancouver can be partially blamed on the ongoing security crisis in Ukraine.

The price for regular unleaded gas spiked above $1.40 per litre downtown this week

Experts say security crisis in the Ukraine is partially to blame 2:02

Experts say spiking gas prices in Metro Vancouver can be partially blamed on the ongoing security crisis in the Ukraine.

The price for regular unleaded gas spiked above $1.40 per litre in parts of the Lower Mainland this week — that's seven cents more per litre than last week, according to

Andre Gerolymatis, a history professor at Simon Fraser University, says political upheaval in Ukraine and Russia's military incursion into Crimea could be putting pressure on prices.

"One reason, of course, is that 40 per cent of Europe's gas and oil comes from Russia, and it comes through the Ukraine. So there's the potential that this could be disrupted, and that means that the Europeans would have to go elsewhere for gas, and that would drive the prices up," he said.

Gerolymatis said it is not uncommon for gas prices to be impacted by global events.

"There's always a bump in gas prices when there's a world crisis, whether it takes place in the Ukraine or in Asia, because markets are very nervous and they can become very volatile."

He said if economic sanctions are imposed on Russia, gas prices could spike further and western economies could be further affected.

"If the West begins to impose sanctions on Russia, the Russians have said that they will impose sanctions against Western businesses in Russia. That would affect German, French, American and even Canadian companies."

Drivers in Vancouver feel the impact

Meanwhile, drivers in Vancouver are already feeling the impact of rising gas prices on their wallets.

"Just when I was driving through here and looking up at the price, $1.42, I'm thinking, 'Where is this coming from?'" said a driver filling his tank at a Vancouver gas station.

"Half of my salary goes to the petrol. I have to be very careful with petrol. It's very bad for me when the price goes high. I hope they make it come down again," said another driver.

Jason Toews with, which tracks gas prices across North America, said gas prices could temporarily ease in the coming days. But the relief may not last long.

"Within a couple of weeks it'll come back down a little bit. But the bad news is, it's going to go back up again as we get closer to the start of the summer driving season, which is thought of as the Victoria Day long weekend."

With files from the CBC's Meera Bains