Metro Vancouver gas prices expected to drop 20 cents by Wednesday

Industry experts say the price of gas in Metro Vancouver will drop on Wednesday, as Southern California refinery issues resolve. Sarah Chew has more on how long cheaper gas prices are expected to last.

The price of gas is on the move again this week in Metro Vancouver, this time in the right direction.

A number of industry analysts predict a significant drop at the pump by Wednesday.

“The Vancouver wholesale price of gas dropped by 19.1 cents per litre today, which means pump prices should fall tomorrow by 18 to 20 cents per litre,” Roger McKnight, senior petroleum analyst at En-Pro International, told CityNews.

That would put a litre of regular at about $1.85 per litre across Metro Vancouver.

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The head of petroleum analysis at agrees that Lower Mainland prices are on the way down, as southern California refinery issues are resolved, and will eventually settle even lower in the weeks ahead.

“You could say Christmas is coming early,” Patrick De Haan said in a weekly update.

“Vancouver should quickly see prices fall back below $2, and once all refinery snags are addressed and maintenance complete, I would not be surprised to see prices even fall below $1.65 there later this fall.”

Refinery outages in Southern California — both planned and unplanned — forced the price of gas upward for the West Coast of the U.S. and Canada.

In Metro Vancouver, a litre of regular rose to $2.149 last week, while in Southern California the price in some cities hit $6.49 USD per gallon Monday, which is the equivalent of $2.33 cents per litre.

Those sky-high prices have prompted California governor Gavin Newsom to step in, penning a letter to the state’s energy commission to request an early transition to winter-blend gasoline to help increase fuel supply.

As those refineries come back online and the West Coast supply crunch begins to ease, gas prices in California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia are dropping.

“While the trend is likely to be a strong one to the downside, small issues here and there could temporarily delay the onset of lower prices, but for now, motorists need not be in any rush: lower gas prices are on the way for every province in the weeks ahead,” added De Haan.

But don’t expect prices to stay low for very long, according to Werner Antweiler, professor of economics at UBC Sauder School of Business. He says many refineries in the United States schedule their annual maintenance around this time every year.

“That means we are already looking at a very constrained capacity for refining, and this will likely spill over into Canada and our Canadian prices,” he said. “So I think we can expect that these low prices will not stay low for very long. We should expect that prices will ramp up again.”

Antweiler says it’s unclear when this may happen.

“There are also international factors at play,” he said. “How international prices will play out is even harder to predict. We see that prices have gone up significantly in international markets over the last three months. There were as low as as $80 a barrel and have now crept up to over $90 again.”

He says those looking for real savings should just consider switching to an electric vehicle.

“Driving electricity costs you about a quarter of what it costs you to fill in the same amount of gasoline for a kilometre to drive,” he said.

With files from Sarah Chew.

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