Drivers are paying about the same amount to fill up on gas now as they were five years ago when the price of oil was closer to $100 than $60.
According to historic gas price charts on the GasBuddy website, the average price of gas in Saskatchewan on April 3, 2013, was $1.19 per litre, which lines up pretty closely with prices in Regina and Saskatoon over the Easter long weekend this year.
After jumping by 10 cents per litre in the last week of March, prices did drop back down to about $1.16 at most stations in Regina and Saskatoon by late Tuesday afternoon.
Roger McKnight is the senior petroleum analyst for Enpro International, and he said gas prices in Canada actually follow wholesale prices at target points in the U.S. For example, the prairies follow the price set in Minneapolis.
“Whatever changes south of the border, it hiccups back north of the border,” he said.
According to McKnight, the wholesale price of gas for Saskatchewan not including any taxes would be 87.2 cents per litre. He said the price of gas depends on a variety of factors, including the value of the Canadian dollar.
“The rise and fall of the loonie versus the United States dollar is a huge factor in today’s prices versus a year ago,” McKnight explained.
When asked why the price of oil and gas don’t match up when you look at the five-year trend, McKnight added there are also major geopolitical factors at play such as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) trying to cut back on production to boost the price of crude oil.
“I also see that the Saudis are now looking at a price cut for their customers in Asia which will reflect back into the pump prices here in Canada,” McKnight commented, noting that Canada doesn’t really have control over any of those factors.
When it comes to analyzing what has changed over five years to impact the price of oil and gas, McKnight also pointed to the changing tax structures including the carbon tax and HST in other provinces across the country playing a factor in average gas prices.
Pointing to Vancouver as an example, McKnight said the price is $1.555 and the wholesale price of gas is $1.040 so consumers are paying 51 cents per litre in tax alone.
McKnight said gas prices in Canada typically peak around April 15 due to U.S. refineries switching over to produce summer gas. Even though he said Canadians don’t get summer gas, the price at the pump still reflects what happens across the border.