Gasoline prices in New Brunswick hit all-time highs on Thursday, including street prices above $ 1.50 for the first time in some communities.
This is the consequence of a number of factors, but mainly of two consecutive months of strong growth in the international oil markets.
Last week, the head of oil analysis at online price tracking site GasBuddy said Radio-Canada News high prices are unlikely to come down, at least for a while.
“We continue to live in this COVID era where there are various bottlenecks, various challenges and various imbalances that arise,” said Patrick De Haan.
In its weekly setting of maximum retail prices allowed early Thursday morning, the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board lifted the limit on one liter of self-serve regular gasoline from 3.5 cents to 151 , 2 cents.
This is the third award record set by the board of directors this month. Prior to October, New Brunswick’s record arrived seven years ago in April 2014 and peaked just below $ 1.43.
Oil prices have risen steadily since they collapsed 19 months ago at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The increases over the past two months have been particularly severe. On Wednesday, the price of Brent crude oil hit US $ 85.85 a barrel, its highest level in seven years and 32% above its price at the end of August.
For Canadians, however, current oil prices are actually 10% higher than seven years ago due to a deterioration in the value of the loonie since 2014.
Much of the rise in the price of oil has been caused by an intense energy crisis in Europe and China, where shortages of natural gas and coal have driven up demand for petroleum products.
“Some of the more recent factors were now completely unexpected several months ago,” De Haan said.
“We have a looming energy crisis developing overseas where China is considering a low enough amount of coal to power its power plants, there is a shortage of natural gas in Europe and all of this is supporting the price of oil simply because that crude oil can be used as a backup to generate electricity or it can be used to heat homes. “
Prices at the pump in New Brunswick have now climbed 48.7 cents since last October, and while most of that rise was caused by rising oil prices, there have been other factors.
Last spring, carbon taxes added 2.2 cents to prices. Several weeks later, the EUB increased the margins that retailers could charge by one cent, and increases in the ethanol markets added another cent.
In addition, the HST, which is designed to rise when prices go up, adds an additional 6.3 cents.
Most New Brunswick stations remained just below the $ 1.50 level on Thursday, although a few took the plunge. According to GasBuddy, two stations in Campbellton were charging 150.6 cents per liter Thursday morning.
Gasoline prices at these levels are new to New Brunswick, but other parts of Canada have faced them for some time.
High taxes and unique supply issues have had prices in Vancouver above $ 1.50 every day since April and on Wednesday drivers were paying $ 1.65. Prices in Montreal topped $ 1.50 last week and in Labrador City, drivers are currently paying $ 1.70.