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Gas prices jump after pipeline shutdown in Washington state

Last Updated Dec 15, 2018 at 9:53 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Prices at the pump have jumped about six cents a litre for regular gasoline overnight Friday and they are expected to go up more by Sunday.

As predicted by GasBuddy‘s Dan McTeague, the two-day shutdown of Washington state’s Olympic pipeline has jacked up prices around the Lower Mainland. In parts of Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey, people are already paying around 137.9 per litre of regular. McTeague says there is a further 11-cent rise slated for tonight, which he adds is extremely rare.

“Normally, you’d see five to six-cent a litre increase spread over several days,” he says. “Six cents is considered substantial; 11 is probably unprecedented.”

He says he hasn’t seen this big an increase since the “energy super-bubble” ahead of the financial crisis in September 2008 following Hurricane Ike which knocked out a number of U.S. refineries. His advice is either fill up as soon as you can today or hold out until Thursday or Friday next week, when prices are expected to drop again to regular levels.

“I don’t recall in all my time doing this — and I have been working this gasoline consumer file for well over 20 years — where there was an 11-cent increase, save for 2008 when eastern Canada saw a 12-cent increase in one fell swoop, but that was it,” McTeague says. “While that pipeline has been repaired and was operational by Thursday evening, it’s going to take several days for that to work its way to the market.”

He says gas stations do not have much of a price cushion without incurring immediate revenue losses.