Gas Prices Plummet as Canadians Hunker Down Over COVID-19 Concerns

One effect of the COVID-19 virus sweeping the globe is that oil and gas prices are continuing to plummet nationwide. Lower demand across the world along with increased production from one of the world's largest producers has cut world oil prices in half in just a few weeks. Canadian oil is now selling for just US$15 per barrel. While you're likely staying at home too, we're looking at the effect of fuel prices across Canada.

Average gas prices in Canada have plummeted from $1.12/L at the end of February to just $0.91/L as of last night, as Canadians reduce travel, work from home, and avoid crowds, but the situation is changing quickly and not everyone is seeing the full extent of the discount. This is the lowest average price for gas Canada has seen since a brief dip in early 2016, and it looks like the price could fall under that bar soon.

Provinces with regulated gas pricing are seeing some of the largest price drops, along with some of the country's biggest cities. Quebec, which sets a price floor and not a ceiling, has dropped the minimum price to as low as 86.9¢/L depending on the region, and at 94.3¢/L for Montreal. That's down from $1.114/L and $1.181/L just a few weeks ago. Note that those are minimums, so you may need to shop around to find those prices at your local station.

Prince Edward Island lowered prices late last week, giving them a selling range from 94.8 to 95.9¢/L, down from $1.156/L a month ago. New Brunswick's maximum price is now $1.015/L, down from $1.205/L a month ago. The maximum price in Newfoundland and Labrador is now as low as $1.002/L, with more remote regions as high as $1.169. That price is down 26.5c/L since March 5.

One of the biggest drops so far, though, is in Nova Scotia, where prices dipped below 80¢/L this morning for the first time in more than a decade. The new minimum regulated price in Halifax was 79.4¢/L with a maximum of 81.6. That's down from $1.110/L just a month ago, a drop of just over 30¢/L.

Prices in B.C. are falling as well, dropping to as low as $1.099/L in some parts of Vancouver, which according to Gasbuddy.com charts is a drop of 30¢/L as well. That same site puts the average for all of B.C. down from around $1.27/L a month ago to $1.16/L today. In Alberta, prices in Edmonton and Calgary are some of the lowest in the country, with stations selling for around 76¢/L with a provincial average around 88¢/L, all down from about $1/L a month ago. Manitoba prices are down from close to $1.10 to the 90¢/L mark, and Saskatchewan's are flatter, dropping from around $1.07 to 95¢/L.

In Ontario, the average price of regular has dropped around 20¢/L to 86¢/L province-wide. Toronto stations are selling for an average of approximately 83¢/L and while Ottawa dipped below 78¢/L, their prices have climbed back above. The Ontario average, as well as both of those cities, shows an increase in gas prices over the last few days. More rural areas, like Thunder Bay, are still looking at prices in the $1.17/L range, but this is still a drop from a month ago. Note that in the provinces west of Quebec, because gas isn't regulated we've used the averages reported by Gasbuddy.com, and your local stations could be selling for more or less. In the Territories, fuel prices can vary significantly based on the community, but prices in major centres have also fallen, with prices in the $1.10-1.20/L range reported.

As economies across the globe return to normal over the next weeks and months, don't expect these low prices to last. But for now, socially distancing yourself with a nice drive in the country sounds like a great idea. Just remember to wash your hands after handling the pumps.

 

Gas is cheap, for now 3/17/2020 12:26:27 PM