National gas prices continue to climb to staggering levels this weekend, with drivers in Vancouver being told to prepare for up to $2.34 a liter at the pumps.
Figures from fuel tracker GasBuddy show the national average price for regular gasoline hit $1.95 a liter on Saturday afternoon, with provincial averages peaking at $2.15 in Newfoundland and Labrador and $2.11 in Columbia. British.
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“My concern is that this is going to reverberate throughout the economy,” said Dan McTeague, a former Liberal MP and current chairman of the group Canadians for Affordable Energy. CBC News Network on Saturday.
“I haven’t seen anything like this since my days doing this as a Member of Parliament [in 2008]… At least back then, the Canadian dollar was strong and protected Canadians from these higher prices.”
McTeague said in another interview that Canadians “are taking a beating for this and they’re not the ones who drive for fun and laughs, they’re the ones who need this to function… And it’s going to be long term.”
He said these prices are unsustainable for the middle class and those on fixed incomes.
Many experts have attributed the soaring gasoline prices to market destabilization caused by Russia’s attack on Ukraine, as well as a recovery in global demand as COVID-19 restrictions ease.
McTeague acknowledged these as factors, but characterized the surge as a supply problem that predates the war and is only now being exacerbated.
He called for a temporary suspension of the carbon tax and for Ottawa to offer an immediate energy rebate, noting that high gas prices have also increased the federal GST haul.
“They are making money hand over fist. It seems to me that it would be wise for them to at least consider some kind of refund, or at least some form of relief, perhaps through a GST refund, to isolate and help those on fixed incomes and , of course, to those who are going through difficult times,” McTeague said.
BC Premier asks residents to cut back on travel
On Friday, BC Premier John Horgan said cutting taxes would be a “short-sighted” plan that offers only a “modest amount” of relief.
He said that he has asked the finance minister “to present a basket of initiatives because it is not a short-term issue.”
Until then, he encouraged residents to cut travel costs where possible.
“We need to do that by taking every step we can to reduce the amount we spend and also making sure we’re working together. If you go to the grocery store and you know you have a neighbor who needs something, ask if you can pick it up for them and reduce the amount of travel we do,” he said.
“Right now, I encourage people to think before they get in the car: do you need to make that trip?”
Gas Wizard, another gas price tracker, forecast significant jumps in several cities on Sunday, with Vancouver expected to see prices rise six cents to a national high of $2.34 a litre.
Montreal is projected to see a four-cent increase to $2.15, and Toronto is on track for a six-cent increase that will bring average prices to $2.09.
St. John’s is expected to see the biggest jump on Sunday with 13 cents to $2.24 a liter.
Prices in Edmonton are expected to be among the lowest, at $1.70 per litre.