Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia gas drops to lowest price in 11 years

Gas prices have fallen again by nearly 10 cents across the province — but that's not necessarily good news for a shuttle owner who's been unable to cash in.

Yarmouth shuttle service unable to cash in on dramatic gas price drop

Gas fell by 9.7 cents early Tuesday to the lowest price since January 2009. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

For the second time in as many weeks, Nova Scotia's gas regulator used the interrupter clause to trigger a sharp drop in the price of gasoline early Tuesday morning.

Gas prices haven't been this low since January 2009.

In Halifax, the minimum price of regular self-serve gas fell to 79.4 cents a litre, dropping from 89.1 cents a litre.

People in Lunenburg, Kings County, and part of Annapolis County can expect to pay 80.0 cents a litre, down from 89.7 cents a litre.

Yarmouth, Shelburne, Digby, Queens County and part of Annapolis County will now pay 80.5 cents a litre instead of 90.2  cents.

Prices in Cumberland County, Guysborough County, Pictou, Colchester County and Antigonish dropped from 90.3 cents a litre to 80.6 cents.

The new price in Cape Breton is 81.4 cents a litre, down from 91.1 cents a litre.

This change is necessary "due to significant shifts in the market prices of gasoline," a news release from the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB) said Monday.

'It's nuts'

The dramatic change took some gas customers aback.

"I was kind of shocked when I drove by the gas station today," said Ken Robinson of Dartmouth. "I can't remember it dropping 10 cents and then it dropping by another 10 cents in such a short period."

Dylan Creaser of Peggys Cove agreed.

"It's nuts, it's crazy how it went from like $1.13 or whatever it was to what it's at now," he said. "It's unheard of really for it to go down like that."

The interrupter clause was used to change the price of gas in Nova Scotia for the second time in as many weeks. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia gas prices usually change first thing Friday, but the UARB can change the prices at any time if the market conditions warrant it.

Gas and diesel prices already dropped across Nova Scotia last week by about 10 cents a litre. In Halifax, people were paying a minimum of 95.3 cents per litre at the pumps after that drop, down from the previous minimum of $1.059 per litre.

On Friday, gas went down an additional 6.2 cents a litre.

Oil prices have plummeted globally, triggered by an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and fears the spread of COVID-19 could lead to a global recession.

'I'm basically out of business at the moment'

Mitch Bonnar would love to be cashing in on the dramatic gas price drop over the last two weeks in Nova Scotia, but he can't.

Bonnar runs Tri-star Charters and due to concerns with the coronavirus, he's lost two months of bookings.

"Everything I had booked for the entire months of March and April have cancelled," said Bonnar. "I'm basically out of business at the moment."

Mitch Bonnar stands in front of the four vehicles he uses for his charter service in Yarmouth. (Submitted by Mitch Bonnar)

Bonnar's charter company and shuttle service consists of two vans and two buses. The price of gas went down nearly 10 cents a litre overnight and is now below 80 cents per litre in some areas. Since the beginning of March, the price has dropped 26 cents per litre in Nova Scotia.

"I have no use for fuel at this point and that's just the way it is," said Bonnar. "The charter business alone is probably close to $50,000 in lost revenue."

'We just have to keep our chin up'

Bonnar is also taking a financial hit in another way. He owns the Yarmouth Mariners junior hockey team.

The Maritime Junior Hockey League put an end to their season last week. The Mariners were the top team in their division and were poised to go on a long playoff run in front of big crowds at the Mariner Centre in Yarmouth.

"We just have to keep our chin up and live through it, it won't last forever I hope," said Bonnar, who hopes things get back to normal before the peak tourism season. "Things may get worse before they get better, but we'll just have to deal with it."

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With files from Alex Cooke

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