Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

More pain ahead

for drivers: Volatile pump prices make a fill-up wise

Experts expect cost hikes in future

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Memo to drivers: Gas up this weekend.

At least, that's the suggestion from one local gas retailer after a Friday that saw prices at the pump fluctuate more than 13 cents a litre.

"The rack (wholesale) price has gone up substantially in the last two weeks," noted Doug Everett, chairman of Domo Gasoline Corp. "In fact, it jumped two cents (on Thursday). It has left retailers with no margins."

'Either everybody follows or the price collapses down to what it was before. That's what seems to be happening'

-- Doug Everett, chairman, Domo Gasoline Corp.

As a result, prices in Winnipeg jumped from 111.9 to 124.9 Friday morning at the majority of pumps in the city. By late afternoon, however, prices had fallen back down to the 111.9 range -- mostly because not all retailers followed suit with the majors, including Esso, Petro-Canada and Shell.

For example, Everett had called to raise prices at a few key Domo locations, only to retreat later Friday.

"Either everybody follows or the price collapses down to what it was before," Everett explained. "That's what seems to be happening."

But Everett said wholesale prices will continue to put upward pressure on pump prices. For example, under Domo's ongoing promotion for Mondays and Thursdays -- where five cents is knocked off each litre -- the company was selling at a loss. "By a few cents, actually," Everett said.

Everett said he would count on prices to jump again early next week, back to the 125-cent range.

"It may be advisable to fill up this weekend," he said.

In the U.S., meanwhile, the price of regular-grade gasoline has jumped 17 cents a gallon in the last 21 days. The five per cent jump means U.S. consumers will pay an average $3.45 a gallon, versus $3.28 a month ago.

Experts predict prices south of the border will peak at about $3.75 a gallon, according to the American Automobile Association.

Higher crude oil prices and lower production are driving up costs at the pump.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 1, 2014 B6

History

Updated on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 12:51 AM CST: Corrects days of Domo's ongoing promotion to Mondays and Thursdays.

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