Central Albertans certainly won’t be thankful for record-high gas prices heading back to work after the Thanksgiving long weekend.
Across the region, prices soared above the $1.31 per litre mark and the average price in the province is about $1.40 per litre as of Monday, the highest prices in the last 10 years.
Red Deer hit a record high this month at 138.8 cents per litre.
In Red Deer, people were paying about $1.37 per litre over the weekend, a stark contrast to a year ago when prices sat at about 0.91/L.
There are several reasons that Albertans are feeling the pinch at the pump this fall, according to Gasbuddy.com petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan.
“Alberta is up nine cents a litre from a week ago. I know everyone likes to think that this was induced by Thanksgiving travel, but it wasn’t,” De Haan said.
“The price of oil is now at a seven-year high, $82 a barrel for West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil. Canada’s average price is now about $1.44 a litre, that’s the highest we’ve ever seen in Canada. Certainly not something to be thankful for this holiday is the big rise in price…
“Unfortunately, the Canadian dollar has weakened. Since oil is globally traded in U.S. dollars, Canadians are basically paying the equivalent of 25 cents a litre or more than they would have in 2008, that’s just because of the weak Canadian dollar.”
Data from Natural Resources Canada, which tracks fuel prices across the country, shows the average weighted national retail price for regular gasoline in Canada hit $1.45 per litre last week.
That’s up more than 40 cents year-over-year and the highest weekly average price on record, according to fuel price consultancy firm Kalibrate, which has data all the way back to 2007.
Although Red Deer didn’t quite reach record highs this summer, which came in 2018 at about $1.35 per litre, that is likely the reality now for at least the next several months.
It doesn’t look like relief is on the way, as De Haan noted that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries met last week and decided not to increase production in the coming months.
“Not a great outlook here. We’re seeing a bit of an energy crisis overseas. China having to clamp down on electric consumption because coal inventory has depleted. Of course, in Europe, a natural gas shortage because Russia is holding back supply,” he said.
“This is all putting pressure on oil, which can in some cases be used as a subsidy for not only heat, but power. Crude oil prices have gone up dramatically in the last couple of weeks… the future is not looking bright, at least at this point for the price of oil and gasoline.”
With files from the Canadian Press.
Updated: This story was updated to include that $82 a barrel was the price of oil as of Monday for West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil.