Metro Vancouver gas prices on the move after spike overnight

If you need to fuel up your vehicle Thursday, be prepared to spend a little more.

The price of a litre of regular gasoline was on the rise overnight in Metro Vancouver after the biggest spike in quite some time.

After hovering around $2.049 per litre through much of September, the price at the pump jumped about a dime to $2.149 at most stations across the region.

The last time Lower Mainland prices hit this mark was late August at the peak of the summer driving season.

“What’s happening is refinery issues in southern California are starting to attract gasoline supply from areas that also supply much of lower British Columbia, and that is pushing up prices as that supply moves to the south,” explained Petroleum Analyst Patrick De Haan.

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“Those refinery issues have been fairly extensive with prices in southern California also skyrocketing. Also joining in on price increases are Washington state, Oregon, and really the entire West Coast of Canada and the U.S.”

De Haan tells CityNews the outages are a result of planned maintenance and unplanned repairs.

Chief Petroleum Analyst Roger McKnight at En-Pro says, overall, West Coast refineries are currently running at 88 per cent capacity.

“If the wholesale prices are higher south of the border, then gasoline can either be exported for a higher price than what refiners can get domestically or they can increase wholesale prices at home to match those available in the export market, which is what I see happening now,” he said in an emailed statement to CityNews.

“This is how the dominoes fall. Oregon follows California. Seattle follows Oregon. Vancouver follows Seattle. The highest prices in the U.S. are in California. The highest prices in Canada are in Vancouver.”

But both McKnight and De Haan predict elevated gas prices will be temporary.

“Prices will eventually drop back below the $2 per litre mark. In fact, by the end of the year, the average price across B.C. and Vancouver could be back in the $1.65 to $1.75 region,” De Haan said.

“Prices should retreat once refineries are back to normal production levels,” McKnight added. “However, the price of crude is increasing and could breach $100/barrel soon so that will support higher prices even when refinery runs are back.”

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