Gas prices jumped by 10 cents in Victoria on Dec. 18. (Black Press file photo)

Gas prices jumped by 10 cents in Victoria on Dec. 18. (Black Press file photo)

Price at Vancouver Island pumps not expected to decrease until after Boxing Day

Closure of US pipeline, weather affected barges are factors in the fluctuating price

Victoria gas stations saw prices jump 10 cents per litre on Dec. 18, and analysts don’t expect that cost to go down on Vancouver Island before Christmas.

“Best case scenario, we might see a drop on Monday, but I’m not holding my breath,” Dan McTeague, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said. “It’ll be more likely after Christmas and after Boxing Day.”

GasBuddy.com shows prices in the Capital Regional District range from 126.9 — at Costco in Langford — to 139.9 across downtown Victoria. The week before, the gas average rang in at 128.7. Prices have risen since the average of 135.2 in November.

READ MORE: Natural gas rates will go up in B.C. on Jan. 1

The jump was originally predicted to hit the pumps the week before. In Vancouver, prices rose six cents a litre on Dec. 14 and another 11 cents on Dec. 15 — resulting in an average of 148.9.

“Victoria was a bit of a holdout,” McTeague said. “Gas stations had the same notices but decided to wait another four or five days, really have no inventory before they had no choice and began to put up those prices to reflect the increases to them.”

The wholesale prices increased for Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland because the area’s supply comes mostly from south of the border. The closure of the pipeline in Washington state and the ability for barges to operate in the unruly weather are both factors in the fluctuating price.

“You don’t have enough production in your own backyard to meet demands, so you have to bring it either via the TransMountain Pipeline — which as we know is oversubscribed — or pull from the United States. A problem down there is an even bigger problem for us up here, made no easier by higher taxes on gasoline,” he said.

Typical gas prices around the Island as of Wednesday morning include: 133.9 in Nanaimo, 132.9 in Duncan and Courtenay, and 134.9 in Port Alberni, although scattered stations still had gas available for less.

Gas prices in B.C. currently rank the highest in the country, with an average price of 124.8. The lowest can be found for 99.9 in Manitoba.

READ MORE: FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire


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