Toronto

Need to fill up? Best do it today, gas prices are set to jump 7 cents at midnight

You'll be able to find the best deal at the pumps between 5 p.m and 10 p.m. tonight, says a petroleum analyst.

'Don't say you haven't been warned,' says GasBuddy petroleum analyst Dan McTeague

Now that a glut of inventory at Ontario's fuel refineries has dried up, prices at the pumps are set to jump at least seven cents at midnight. (CBC)

If your loved one drives, the best Valentine's Day gift you can get them this year might just be a full tank of gas.

That is, at least, according to Dan McTeague, a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy, a real-time online petroleum price aggregator.

That's because the cost per litre of gas is likely to jump at least seven cents at midnight "right across the GTA" and most of Ontario. Similarly, the price per litre of diesel fuel will increase 11 cents with HST included.

"Today would be a really good day to pick up gasoline, with the long weekend coming up," McTeague said.

The anticipated jump in price is fuelled by a confluence of factors. Primarily, a glut of inventory that accumulated at Ontario refineries last month — leading to record-low prices for this time of year since about January 20 —  is nearly gone. Further, a slew of refineries in the northeastern U.S. are offline for seasonal maintenance.

"So while demand remains static, it looks like there will be a run on supplies, meaning there is no longer a need for these fire sale prices to move inventory here in Ontario," McTeague explained.

While actual prices will vary in different parts of the region, you might be able to fill up at some stations for as little as 93 cents per litre.

According to McTeague, your best to chance to score the cheapest price will always come some time between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.

"Best take advantage of this now while you can, and don't say you haven't been warned," he continued.

Gas prices should hover at a little more than $1 per litre throughout the late winter and spring. Then, on April 1, the federal government will implement it's levy on the four provinces that have not developed carbon pricing frameworks.

That will automatically add an additional 4.49 cents to the cost per litre of fuel in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick, McTeague said. 

That increase, combined with the mandatory switch over to summer blends that generally occurs in April — bringing with it an additional five cent increase in price per litre — will drive the price at the pumps to at least $1.15. Then, as U.S. demand really ramps up during the summer months, drivers in Ontario are likely to see a significant bump in cost that will last until October.

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