KITCHENER -- Need to fill up your gas tank? Brace yourself, your wallet could be in for a wallop.

That’s because prices at the pumps are on the rise, and one gas analyst says fuel costs could keep rising in the coming weeks despite less traffic on area roads.

Last April, amid the first province-wide lockdown, gas prices were around $.80 a litre.

Today, the price has soared more than 61 per cent, spiking to $1.29 a litre – nearly 50 cents higher than the same time last year.

It’s a jump that’s leaving some locals scratching their heads.

“(It’s) kind of getting out of hand a bit,” said one person filling up at a Waterloo gas station.

But the cost of crude isn’t about how many cars are on area highways, and instead is influenced by what’s happening south of the border and in international markets, gas analyst Dan McTeague said.

“American demand is about 95 per cent of where it was pre-pandemic,” he said. “We’re seeing today evidence that Europe is now emerging from his lockdowns.”

Refineries opting to not produce more than is needed, many due to reluctance, is spurring the rising prices, McTeague said.

“They don’t want to get burned a second time,” he said.

Those factors, along with a potential disruption to the Line Five pipeline in Michigan – a major contributor of domestic crude to refineries in the country – could trigger even more sticker shock at the pumps this summer.

McTeague said a potential disruption could come as early as next week, which could drive prices up another 20 to 50 cents a litre.

“It could make $1.30 we’re complaining about look like a Sunday school picnic,” he said.