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Gas price hike blamed on change in seasons, motorists 'shocked'

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Gas prices jumped an average of 14 cents per litre overnight, leaving motorists in Waterloo Region surprised.

"[It was] a pretty steep hike in one day. That was a little bit insane," driver Gianna Casselli said.

Long lineups were seen outside gas stations in Waterloo and Guelph last night as motorists rushed to fill up before the anticipated hike. On Thursday, people like Casselli, were disappointed by the change.

"It was shocking," Casselli said.

What's the difference between winter and summer gas?

Climbing to levels not seen in nearly two years, the price is being blamed on the switch from winter fuel to a more expensive summer blend. Experts said that changeover typically results in an increase of about 6 to 10 cents per litre.

“Never in my lifetime have I seen it going up 14 cents a litre, because of this,” Jim Voigt, owner of Columbia Auto Service, said.

According to Voigt, there is a difference between winter and summer fuel. To properly deal with evaporation, butane is added to winter fuel, but summer fuel contains additives that are more expensive.

“Additives to help in the burning and the evaporation of the fuel,” Voigt explained.

Chief petroleum analyst at En-Pro International Roger McKnight says fine tuning the refining system costs more to switch to summer blends.

“I think it's a little bit excessive. In March of 2022 it went up 16 cents,” McKnight said.

Summer blend fuel should get better gas mileage though, because it has less butane.

Gas companies accused of 'gouging'

Voigt said regardless of seasonal factors, this hike is unacceptable.

“I’m very upset. It’s puzzling to me that the gas company thinks they can pull this one over on us,” Voigt said.

On Wednesday morning, Ontario Premier Doug Ford called out oil companies, blaming them for "gouging" and messing with Canadians.

“It's unacceptable. Everywhere I was going, it was about $1.59. You wake up this morning and it's a $1.80. You know, it's absolutely disgusting,” Ford said.

Voigt wants to see Ford and the federal government do more to reduce the prices.

“Complain. Talk to the owners. The federal government brought all of the grocery store owners together and complained about the price of groceries. I don’t see anybody calling in the oil companies to talk about why they’re raising the prices so high,” Voigt said.

McKnight expects the price will drop four cents tomorrow, but it won't go back to winter pricing until September.

He said because of our trade relationships with the United States, Canada can't really do much to change the prices.

“Prices in Canada are not made in Canada. They're made in the United States,” McKnight said.

The Canada Energy Regulator declined an interview saying they have not done a recent analysis of gas prices.

Wednesday’s prices may be the highest motorists have seen in quite some time, but according to Canadians for Affordable Energy, the price is well short of the record high of 215 cents per litre set in June 2022.

The website GasBuddy.com keeps an updated list of gas prices at stations around Waterloo Region.

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