Montreal

Montreal gas prices soar ahead of Labour Day weekend

Montreal gas prices, as predicted, shot up even higher Friday, while many prepared for the long weekend.

A litre of regular gas cost $1.34 Friday, compared to $1.27 Thursday

Damage in the wake of tropical storm Harvey has led Montreal gas prices to spike. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Montreal gas prices, as predicted, shot up even higher Friday, while many prepared for the long weekend. 

By 5 a.m., several gas stations on the island displayed the cost of a litre of regular unleaded gas to be $1.34.

The price of gas has also increased across Quebec, with costs jumping up to $1.21 in Sherbrooke and $1.25 in the Quebec City area.

Dan McTeague, an analyst with GasBuddy.com, said that there could be another price boom in the coming days, and Montreal drivers may have to pay up to $1.45 per litre.

The spike is due to the effects of tropical storm Harvey on Houston and the U.S. oil infrastructure.

By Thursday, the prices had already gone up 10 cents, to $1.27 per litre, from the day before.

Hurricane Harvey's impact on gas supplies and prices coincides with the arrival of the Labour Day weekend in Canada and the U.S., which means more people on the road thereby increasing demand.

Hike is 'ludicrous,' drivers say

Bonnie Linder was at a gas station in Montreal's Saint-Henri neighbourhood Friday morning as she headed off to Maine for the long weekend. 

She concluded such a sharp increase in prices had to be due to more than just the storm.

"I mean, a jump like this to $1.34 is, like, ludicrous," Linder told CBC News. 

"I feel like we're a couple years back. I really don't think it's Harvey, I think [they're] maybe taking advantage of the situation."

Gas jumped across Montreal on Wednesday including this station at the corner of Atwater Avenue and St. Jacques Street. (Jessica Rubinger/CBC)

The Canadian Automobile Association agreed.

CAA spokesperson Annie Gauthier said the long weekend coupled with Hurricane Harvey means that gas stations are making some extra money.

"It's about 13 cents per litres, so it's a lot of money," said Gauthier, who explained gas stations usually make an average of 10 cents on the litre.

Lorne Switzer, a finance professor at Concordia University, said there are no stock market justifications for the hike. 

"We see at the pumps it's going up but at the same time, on the market where these things are bought and sold, it's going down today."

Prices affected for months?

Industry experts say the storm has affected millions of barrels a day, much of which had been coming from refineries in Texas.

Most of the state's refineries are in an area called "refinery row"' on the north side of Corpus Christi, where more than four feet of rain fell. 

The tropical storm began as a Category 4 hurricane, making landfall and barrelling down on Texas last week.

It has forced thousands out of their homes, mainly in the Houston area, and has been responsible for at least 25 deaths.

Wednesday, the storm made landfall in Louisiana and then morphed into a tropical depression as it headed for the Gulf Coast. 

But experts said the havoc wreaked by the hurricane and the storm could affect markets, including gas, for months.

Overnight Friday, gas prices shot up another 7 cents to $1.34 per litre of regular gas. (Alain Beland/Radio-Canada)

with files from Lauren McCallum, Radio-Canada and la Presse Canadienne

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