Damage by Hurricane Harvey could force retailers to raise gasoline prices by 13 cents a liter on Wednesday night, according to analysts.
This will be the biggest increase in the province in nine years.
Already, on Wednesday morning, motorists were lining up in front of service stations in the province to beat the increase.
It’s a big increase […], it’s very expensive! In the long run, it’s expensive. ”
Simon Henman, motorist
“Four, five dollars makes a difference and I have two cars! You put the two together, it’s $ 10-15. So it’s worth taking the time to come and gas, “said George LeBlanc, another motorist who went to refuel.
“With such an expected increase, I expect a gasoline shortage,” says Jerry Scholten, a Fredericton retailer whose family operates seven gas stations.
The expected increase for Thursday is a late consequence of Hurricane Harvey. The storm caused turbulence in oil markets in eastern North America throughout last week.
A Harvey Delayed Consequence
In New Brunswick, the regulation of gasoline prices delayed the effects of the storm. This temporary protection will end dramatically overnight from Wednesday to Thursday.
It’s a nightmare for retailers. The stations were faced with increasing prices from their suppliers right after the hurricane. The latter are not subject to price controls.
Despite this, New Brunswick’s law, which sets maximum oil prices at the pump every Thursday, prevented retailers from passing on the bill to their customers without delay.
“It kills us,” said Jerry Scholten. One of the weaknesses of regulation is this configuration. In these cases, retailers get knocked out. ”
Retailers hit by rising last week
The Kent Group saw wholesale oil prices in Canada rise significantly. The company reports wholesale gasoline prices rose 14 cents per liter last week as Harvey hit Texas oil refineries.
Many motorists know this when there is a significant increase. So there are a lot of them going to gas stations on the days before the hike.
According to Jerry Scholten, it is possible that some stations choose not to sell gasoline on Wednesday or that shortages appear. As for him, he prefers to continue serving customers, even if it means losing money.
“The goal of our business is to be useful to citizens so that they become regular customers,” he said. If I can not meet their needs, they will go elsewhere. ”
The price of diesel is also expected to rise on Thursday, but only five cents per liter. disel is less affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Still, this increase will have an impact on truckers who fuel with diesel, said Jean-Marc Picard, general manager of the Atlantic Truckers’ Association. “If you take 100 trucks, that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars. Someone who does not have solid kidneys financially, it could have a worse impact than some companies.”
On September 13, 2008, gasoline prices rose by 12.8 cents per liter in New Brunswick. The rise was also caused by a hurricane and lasted less than a week.
Benjamin Diaz started working for Debate Report in 2017. Ben grew up in a small town in northern Ontario. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife a year later. Benhas been a proud Torontonian for the past 10 years. He covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for CTV News and the Huffington Post Canada.