Gas prices as low as 67 cents a litre could stick around until February
Analyst says Midwest refineries that feed Western Canada have finally overcome earlier production issues
Gas prices dropped as low as 66.9 cents per litre at two stations in Calgary on Wednesday and a gas-price analyst expects these kinds of prices to persist into early February, at least.
"It's a real bonus and a response to the fact that refineries have finally started to catch up, especially in the U.S. Midwest, and demand is pretty stable at this time of year," said senior GasBuddy.com analyst Dan McTeague.
- MORE CALGARY NEWS | Downturn data: See the impact on housing, jobs and sales
- MORE CALGARY NEWS | Oil slips below $27 amid stock market turmoil
But McTeague cautioned that gas prices are always susceptible to a variety of factors, and noted production at two refineries in Illinois went down today and it's not clear exactly why or for how long.
Wholesale prices already jumped two cents per litre in response to those closures, he said, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything will change in Calgary.
"Whether that sparks an increase at the pumps remains to be seen," he said. "We'll have to wait until tomorrow for the weekly inventory report that comes out in the states."
Overall, however, McTeague expects prices to stay within their current range, plus or minus a few cents, until the first or second week of February.
The current prices are a massive change from what Calgary gas stations were charging just four months ago.
At that time, average retail prices in the city stood at $1.12 per litre, which was well above the Canada-wide average of $1.05.
The current pump prices are the lowest Calgary has seen since 2008.
"My wallet likes it, but in the back of my head I know it's not good for the economy as a whole, because we are an oil and gas province," said Emma Appel while cleaning her windshield at a local gas station on Wednesday.
Joshua Toth was similarly conflicted.
"A lot of people are losing jobs, so it's a little worrisome," he said. "But on the other hand, just due to my personal financial state right now, the lower gas prices are quite useful."
If you're planning a trip to the mountains, however, you'll probably want to fill up before heading west.
Pump prices in Banff were as much as 28 cents higher than in Calgary on Wednesday, with several stations in the mountain town still charging nearly a dollar for a litre of regular fuel.