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03 September 2017, 04:32 | Katrina Lee
Northern Ireland consumers and businesses have been warned of higher gas prices
Analysts say the hikes will differ greatly by region, with prices in Eastern Canada jumping by as much as nine cents per litre over the Labour Day long weekend, while prices in Western Canada remain relatively stable.
McTeague said Harvey-induced fears of potential gas shortages in the eastern USA are mainly what's driving up prices this weekend in many eastern Canadian cities.
Gasoline prices are expected to drop two cents a litre in the GTA on Sunday.
The price at the pump rose Thursday night in Montreal for a second time in three days, reaching an average of almost $1.35 per litre of regular fuel by Friday morning.
A key pipeline carrying oil from the gulf coast to the eastern seaboard shut down on Thursday, raising the possibility of gas shortages in the USA southeast, mid-Atlantic and northeast, Nasdaq.com reports.
Dan McTeague, an analyst with the GasBuddy website, said a price hike was expected because the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas had forced many refineries in the area to suspend their operations.
McTeague said service stations in Montreal could take advantage of higher wholesale prices to raise prices and increase profit margins.
"Until we get engineers into the refineries to assess the damage it's all speculation", he said.
"If we keep our prices low, that shortage will morph into wholesalers driving north of the border under free trade - and picking up dozens of tankers in gasoline and that will eventually see a run in our own supplies", he said.
Roger McKnight, senior petroleum analyst with En-Pro International Inc., said he has never seen such a big price increase. "We're just not in a position where we can sell spare capacity".
In Vancouver, McKnight predicted little change on the weekend but McTeague says he expects a five-cent jump on Saturday.
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