A friend of mine pulls up beside me in a parking lot the other day. He says “I just doubled the value of this car”. “How did you do that?” I ask.
He smiles and says “I filled it with gas!”
Gas prices are no joke, but the biggest part of the nightmare is trying to get honest answers. Five years ago, before the economic crash, crude oil hit a record high of $150 a barrel. Today it’s more than $50 below that, but gas prices are once again close to the record high that we saw in 2008.
Right now the price at most outlets in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan is just under $1.36 a litre. That’s about 15 cents a litre higher than a month ago.
All we hear as to why is the fact that we’re now into the driving season. Folks are driving to lakes and beaches on the weekend, and they’re doing motor trips across the country.
It could be worse. In Quebec and parts of Atlantic Canada, drivers might pay more than $1.50 a litre. But it could also be better.
In Grand Forks and Minot in North Dakota, the average price when you do the conversions, works out $1.17. Yes, North Dakota is the new Texas. They’re swimming in oil, but isn’t Saskatchewan the largest producer of conventional oil in Canada these days?
A major factor is taxes. Remember when Paul Martin slapped us with an extra cent and a half at the gas pump to fight the deficit? It never went away, even when the deficit disappeared, and why are we not surprised?
When all is said and done, three little words seem to answer the question as to why gas retailers put the price up. Those words .. “Because They Can”.
Drive carefully and have a wonderful summer.
I’m Roger Currie