Many Red Deerians reacted with shock and dismay as gas prices hit another all-time high — jumping 12 cents to $1.91 a litre at most local stations on Wednesday.
Considering the 16 cent per litre gas hike on June 1, many local drivers are now paying 28 cents more a litre for gasoline than just over a week ago.
Motorist Mark Cruz said, “It sucks” — especially since he needs his truck for working in the oilfield.
While a few Red Deer gas stations held the line at $1.79 a litre on Thursday morning, the price climbed to new heights at many others — including local Petro-Canada, Shell and Esso stations — and the Fas Gas at 3202-49th Ave. where Cruz was filling up.
Some of this cost will be covered by his company, but Cruz said it’s been a decade since his work mileage rate increased so it won’t cover all of his current gas expenses.
Over at the next pump, a semi-retired Red Deer woman admitted “I was a little shocked to begin with” by the jump.
While she feels for people who depend on their vehicles, she’s resigned to paying whatever gas costs, and still plans to drive to a family reunion in Saskatchewan this summer.
Sky-high gas prices similarly won’t stop Tyler Greiner from attending two upcoming friend’s weddings in different Alberta communities. But the Red Deer man said the additional cost will make him think twice about going on any unnecessary road trips.
Greiner, who was filling up at a Petro-Canada station at 32nd Street and Gaetz, predicted driving his fuel-efficient car more than his truck, which now costs him $200 to fill the tank.
Brooks motorist, Sandy MacKinnon, who was gassing up his sports car in Red Deer before returning home, was speculating it might actually be cheaper to fly to Nova Scotia this summer than attempt to drive, as he had been planning. “With all the smaller airlines, it’s a lot cheaper now,” he added — unless plane tickets also begin to rise to pay for more expensive fuel.
As historically high as Red Deer’s gas prices are, they are still much lower than in other Canadian provinces.
Kevin Fortinski, who’s visiting Red Deer from Vancouver, said gas is costing close to $2.50 a litre at home. Perhaps understandably, Fortinski did not drive to Alberta, but flew here instead.
Jason Nixon, Alberta’s acting finance minister, sent a letter to the Advocate reminding Albertans that the UCP government’s fuel tax relief program saves Albertans 13.6 cents per litre every time they fill up with gas or diesel.
The program was announced in early March and will be evaluated every quarter. Nixon said the tax would only be considered for re-implementation in stages if the average price of West Texas Intermediate falls below $90 per barrel.
Nixon, MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, is now calling for the Canadian government to also suspend the carbon tax and the federal fuel tax while the price of oil remains above $90 a barrel. It was $122.34 a barrel on Wednesday.
The first evaluation of the provincial fuel tax suspension will be in mid-June, based on the average price over previous four weeks.
“It is clear from the current high prices that this program will likely continue for another quarter, from July 1 to the end of September,” said Nixon, although no official announcement has been made.