B.C. gas prices expected to shatter previous records in 2023

Just when you thought gas prices in British Columbia couldn’t go from bad to worse, they will, at least according to the people at Kalibrate. The company has released its latest forecast and if you live in B.C., you may want to start saving now.

Kalibrate’s Principal Consultant Paul Pasco says drivers in the Lower Mainland can expect to see prices break 2022 record highs and he explains why.

“We just received word that refinery outages for scheduled turnarounds are going to exceed the outages from last summer, so unfortunately, through the summer period we’re going to see increased supply constraints and with everyone moving to the clean fuel regulations across Canada, we aren’t going to see that relief that we’ve been seeing in the winter and likely prices will continue to stay a little bit higher. But immediately here, we’re seeing a return to demand, prices are starting to creep back up.”

The forecast is calling for prices to hit as high as $2.65 a litre for regular in parts of B.C., including the Lower Mainland, by the summer.

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Pasco says when there are refinery shutdowns on the West Coast, getting fuel from the other side of North America also drives up the cost.

He points to another reason for why you’re paying so much — our old friend taxes.

“Your wholesale price, excluding tax, isn’t substantially higher than the rest of the country… but once we roll in the taxes and all of the additional charges to the fuels, we see B.C. start to come in as one of the higher priced regimes, even when we look across Canada.”

Pasco says there may be a tiny bit of relief in the fall, but otherwise, things don’t look to stabilize for a while.

“There’s hopefully an opportunity for some relief in January of next year with the starting of the Trans Mountain pipeline as it could bring some more refined fuel capacity out of Alberta and into British Columbia.”

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If it’s any consolation, and we know it’s not, the spike in gas prices is expected across the country with the Maritimes also taking a hit.

“Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba will continue to benefit from their proximity to crude production and refinery capacity keeping prices in these regions the lowest in Canada.

Ontario and Quebec will continue at or near the Canadian average price and benefit from some close refinery capacity to a strong portion of the American refining market. Quebec prices could
experience more volatility than Ontario given their reliance on international crude and shipping rates.”

Other reasons Kalibrate says could affect prices are China and its economy, a shortage in Russia, a possible recession, and interest rates.

Click here to read the full forecast for the year.

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