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'Very painful' gas price hikes to hit southern Ontario this week, expert warns

Gas prices are expected to jump in southern Ontario this week in part due to Russian attacks on Ukraine, an expert warned on Tuesday.

2-cent increase set for Wednesday, followed by 7-cent hike on Thursday

Gas prices are shown at a Newcastle, Ont. Shell gasoline station last week. Gas prices will go up by two cents a litre on Wednesday to just under $1.61 cents a litre, according to Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy. (Doug Ives/The Canadian Press)

Gas prices are expected to jump in southern Ontario this week in part due to Russian attacks on Ukraine, an expert said on Tuesday.

Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, said gas prices will go up by two cents a litre on Wednesday to just under $1.61 cents a litre.

That increase will be followed by a rise of seven cents a litre on Thursday, which means gas prices will be about $1.67 a litre. That means gas is increasing by nine cents a litre in one week, he noted.

"Unfortunately for motorists, it's going to be a very painful couple of days, and it's likely to get worse tomorrow in the GTA, Hamilton area as well, pretty much throughout all of southern Ontario," McTeague said.

"If you happen to be by a gas station now between now and midnight, it's obviously a good idea to fill up."

McTeague said gas prices are "marching" toward $1.75 a litre.

Compounding the problem is global tightness in supply, a problem that existed before Russian aggression in Ukraine, he said.

He said it's important to remember that the price of gas was about $1.21 a litre a year ago and about $1.15 a litre in 2020. Prices are "highly inflationary," and may not be something many people can afford, he added.

McTeague said people who don't drive may not be concerned by these increases but the price of diesel, which is used to fuel public transit buses, will go up by 5.5 cents a litre on Tuesday, then by another eight cents a litre on Thursday.

He raised the spectre of across-the-board inflation driven by rising fuel costs.

"Diesel is important because it's the stuff that farmers use, that transportation uses, airlines, rail, so you can see where these factors are going to start to hit consumers in ways they possibly haven't even bothered to consider imagining."

Adding to the problem is the weakness of the Canadian dollar in the face of higher energy oil prices, which is adding to the cost of fuel, he said. 

With files from Sneha Agrawal

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