Canada

Motorists paying more at the pumps - again

Prices at the pumps across Canada are on their way up. In some places, prices jumped 10 cents overnight.

Analysts blame rising crude oil and wholesale gasoline prices. Wholesale prices have been rising steadily for eight weeks.

OPEC the 11 nations responsible for producing 40 per cent of the world's oil decided this week not to boost production.

Retailers say they are just passing on the cost in anticipation of spring when more cars get on the roads.

Just three days ago, gas was going for 59.9 at Edmonton stations it's now 65.9 cents. In Newfoundland it's gone up two cents to about 72 cents a litre while motorists are paying 69.9 cents a litre in Toronto and Ottawa where prices jumped 10 cents from the previous day.

It has hit 82.4 cents a litre in Yellowknife, though residents hardly batted an eye after last year's high of 96.9 cents.

"We still have a lot of supply, both supply of production and reserves available," says Calgary oil analyst Brian Prokop.

"We haven't seen production decline significantly from non-OPEC countries or from OPEC countries and as a result of that, that means there's oversupply versus the demand."

Others say prices could keep going up because of possible American military action against Iraq, a member of OPEC.

The instability has renewed calls for "price cushioning" by some politicians.

In 1999, the federal competition watchdog ruled there was no collusion in gas pricing. Competition Commissioner Konrad von Finckenstein says prices rise and fall because oil companies are following each other's lead.