Yellowknife motorists are being encouraged to shop around for gasoline after it was discovered the price per litre across the city can vary by as much as ten cents.

Esso at Mac’s Convenience Store had the cheapest gas in the city yesterday at $116.4/litre. John McFadden/NNSL photo

 

This advice comes from Dan McTeague, the former Toronto-area member of Parliament who now runs gasbuddy.com, a gas-price watchdog website.

He also mentioned it is not fair to blame the gas stations when prices rise as they did by about 10 cents, at some gas retailers did earlier this week.

The cheapest price for gas in town as of yesterday morning could be found at the Mac’s convenience store Esso on Franklin Avenue, where regular unleaded was selling for $1.16.4 a litre.

Both Gastown on Old Airport and the Monkey Tree Gas Bar on Range Lake Road were selling regular unleaded for $1.18.9, but an employee at Gastown was quick to point out their price includes full service while the Monkey Tree Gas Bar, except for selected pumps, do not.

Regular gas was selling at the Co-Op Gas Bar for $1.21.9, but that is the price for non-Co-Op members. Those who are members get rebates amounting to about nine cents a litre.

Shell on Range Lake Road had the most expensive gas in the city at $1.26.9 as of yesterday afternoon, up from $1.13.9 yesterday morning.

Shopping for the cheapest gas is a little more challenging in Yellowknife in that Esso and Shell are the only two gas stations in town that have their price posted on a sign. Everywhere else, the price is listed on the pump.

McTeague said the price of gas across western Canada, including Yellowknife, went up this week for a couple of reasons.

Your gas comes from Edmonton via Hay River,” he aid. “Prices in Edmonton shot up about 12 cents a litre just in the last week and a half alone. Edmonton doesn’t set the gas prices, that’s done by the Chicago Stock Market.”

He explained two major pipelines in the U.S. Midwest ruptured last week, causing a 20-per-cent drop in supply.

There were also big refineries in Illinois and Indiana that shut down for fall maintenance,” he said.

But that’s not all. McTeague said Hurricane Harvey in August, which devastated Houston and other cities on the Gulf of Mexico Coast with oil refineries, was also a factor in the price hike, noting about a third of all North American refineries are located Texas and Louisiana.

U.S. Midwest gas prices went up 60 cents a gallon in two weeks,” said McTeague. “But prices, including Yellowknife’s, are expected to fall by roughly the same amount by about mid-November.”

According to McTeague, Yellowknife prices are slightly cheaper than Toronto’s and much cheaper than Vancouver, where regular is selling for about $1.45 a litre.

The prices of gas in Yellowknife was frozen at $1.38.9 at all vendors in Yellowknife for many years until about three years ago. Accusations of gouging, price fixing and collusion between Yellowknife gas retailers led the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs to commission a study that concluded that although there was no direct evidence of price fixing, it was “curious” prices remained stagnant for so long.

Soon after representatives with the department met with retailers, prices dropped and have continued to move with the market ever since.

Balbarwan Singh, manager of the Mac’s store said he does not set gas prices, Esso does. He said head office told him to put the price up to $1.26 earlier in the week, but two days later he received a directive telling him to drop the price in order to remain competitive with other Yellowknife retailers.

Adan Ahmed, a taxi driver for 14 years in the city, parks at Monkey Tree waiting to be dispatched, but usually buys his gas at Shell, he said, adding he shops around for the best price because he pays for the cab’s gas and the expense cuts directly into his profit margin.

Assad Chana, supervisor at Shell, said that Shell’s head office also sets his price. He said he was told the price had to go up because of increased transportation expenses.

 

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