Gas prices spike in London to $131.9/L

Canadian petroleum analyst Dan Mc Teague says residents in the Greater Toronto Area should prepare for higher gas prices in the coming weeks

Earlier this week SooToday staff reported seeing gas prices as low as 106 cents per litre in the city. Analysts expect a hike of around 5 cents by Friday evening, followed by a further jump of 9 cents on Saturday.

Dan McTeague, senior gas analyst at GasBuddy.com, calls it "the Hurricane Harvey Effect" as the storm has a major pipeline and 16 refineries in the United States offline.

McTeague said Harvey-induced fears of potential gas shortages in the eastern USA are mainly what's driving up prices this weekend in many eastern Canadian cities.

He said the only thing that could drive up prices in Western Canada would be if the entire eastern United States seaboard is hit with severe gas shortages and begins siphoning away gas from the U.S. Midwest market.

McTeague says with supply down, "there are very few refineries that make enough gasoline to supply markets south of the border".

Gas retailers in Canada are not facing a potential shortage due to the slowdown in Texas production, but Canadian prices depend on US prices, with Eastern Canada taking its cue from New York, Albany, Syracuse and Buffalo, and much of Western Canada looking to Chicago and Minneapolis.

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While Canada isn't expected to experience the same supply problems, Americans could look north for more gasoline, he said.

"Until we get engineers into the refineries to assess the damage it's all speculation", he said.

Roger McKnight, senior petroleum analyst with En-Pro International Inc., said he has never seen such a big price increase.

McTeague said service stations in Montreal could take advantage of higher wholesale prices to raise prices and increase profit margins.

"Some of the refineries in Canada are going through fall maintenance, and that means we just don't have any capacity".

"This is going to last through the month of September and likely into October as well, with some variation", McTeague predicts.

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