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Alberta election results could impact Metro Vancouver gas prices: analyst

Last Updated Apr 15, 2019 at 12:50 pm PDT

United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney speaks during a campaign rally in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday, April 12, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan

METRO VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With gas hitting 1.70-per-litre this weekend, many are wondering how much higher prices can get.

With the provincial election set to take place in Alberta on Tuesday, experts will be watching the polls closely, saying they could dictate how much cash Metro Vancouverites shell out at the pumps.

One analyst says the results could send prices soaring.

In the final stretch of campaigning, Jason Kenney is doubling down on his threat to “turn of the taps” to B.C. in the ongoing feud over the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Related video: New gas price record set in Metro Vancouver

With the United Conservative Party leading in the latest polls, Dan McTeague with GasBuddy.com says we’ll want to keep an eye on the results.

“One has to keep in mind that the Trans Mountain pipeline, as much as some people think it’s cute and cool to impose, it brings down probably about a third of your gasoline needs and another third of your oil that is used at the Parkland refinery, which also provides about a third of our gasoline needs.”

He adds “Two-thirds of what you use in the Lower Mainland, Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island, will all be adversely affected… Best case scenario, 30 cent a litre, perhaps as much as a 30 cent a litre increase, if you can find gasoline and diesel.”

Should he win, Kenny says he’s prepared to stop oil shipments to B.C. within an hour of being sworn into office.

“It would be highly disruptive in terms of getting gasoline ,would be quite a challenge,” McTeague explains. “Yes, you can bring in shipments of oil and gasoline from overseas, but good luck with that — you won’t certainly do with these kind of prices.”

B.C. Premier John Horgan has repeatedly said he is defending the interests of British Columbians by fighting the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline in court. McTeague believes “The B.C. government’s response to a potential court challenge also includes the possibility of civil chaos.”

“There’s no doubt that opposing the pipeline may be politically de rigueur for some people, but without that pipeline Vancouver is in a lot of trouble.”

The good news is McTeague says Metro Vancouver is on track for a bit of a slowdown after seeing steadily climbing prices over the last two weeks.

However, he foresees some tension as we look ahead.

“We could be looking at a very tough end of this month, beginning of May, leading up to the May-long weekend in which gas prices tend to go up anyway because of demand. The timing certainly isn’t good. I wouldn’t use today as a benchmark, the $1.70 that we’re seeing and then add another 20 or 30 cents a litre, but I don’t think $2 a litre — as I said last year on this station — would not be far fetched.”

Meantime, some experts have said Kenney’s threat is just not a viable option, adding such a move would negatively impact businesses in Alberta.