May 22, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Prices at the pump shot up overnight in Winnipeg, by seven cents a litre, then they dropped back down and shot up again.
So what’s going on?
Jason Toews, co-founder of Gasbuddy.com, a website that monitors gas prices in Canada, said this is the time of the year refineries undergo maintenance, which puts a cramp on supply and a squeeze on consumers.
This year, Winnipeg seems to be leading the trend, at least this week. Other locations like Ontario saw prices drop at the pumps this week.
"This is the time of the year we see gas prices go up all over the country. It’s all based on supply and demand," Toews said.
In the meantime, wise consumers can still surf the web for pumps that give them a break.
If people are travelling, you can save quite a bit of money just by knowing where to look. The average pump price was 123.9 cents a litre in Winnipeg Friday. But some gas stations, such as the Tempo Gas Bar in northwest Winnipeg posted a pump price nearly 10 cents lower Friday afternoon: 114.9 cents a litre.
Friday prices spiked overnight in Winnipeg from the average 116.9 cents a litre all week at most locations and then dropped back down. By mid afternoon, most stations posted a price of 123.9 cents.
The rule of thumb in Winnipeg is that First Nations-run gas stations post lower prices, even without the discount available to treaty status card holders. Costco runs a couple of gas stations where gas prices are generally lower, although Friday, the price was no different from the Shell, Co-Op, Domo, Petro Canada and Esso, according to GasBuddy.com. That said, Safeway offers a standard discount to its club card holders that may blunt the bite on the wallet.
As for the weekend, refineries can go offline for maintenance for weeks on end this time of year, so don’t expect a break any time soon.