It could be the middle of next week before shell-shocked Winnipeg motorists see much relief at the gas pumps, according to one senior industry analyst.

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It could be the middle of next week before shell-shocked Winnipeg motorists see much relief at the gas pumps, according to one senior industry analyst.

By late Wednesday afternoon, the posted price for a litre of regular gas had jumped from 103.4 or 106.9 to 117.9 cents at more than a dozen stations in the city. That followed an eight-cent-a-litre hike last week at many outlets in the city.

And Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, predicted it could be 119.9 cents a litre by Thursday due to another anticipated four-cent-a-litre increase in wholesale prices overnight Wednesday.

"I think if we get to 119 we'd be pretty lucky. It could go up to 123 or 124 (cents per litre)," he added.

McTeague said the last time the average pump price in Winnipeg was that high was August 13, 2015, when it was 120.5 cents a litre.

He said a combination of gas pipeline and gas refinery outages this week in the United States and low U.S. gasoline inventories have been driving wholesale gas prices through the roof.

"And when U.S. Mid-west refineries have problems, we pay for it here in Canada."

He said wholesale prices had jumped by 11.5 cents a litre from the middle of last week to the middle of this week, and that didn't include Wednesday night's anticipated increase.

That meant local stations would be paying 15 to 16 cents a litre more for their gas on Thursday than they were a week earlier. So it was only a matter of time before they'd be forced to pass on those increases to motorists, he added.

By Wednesday morning, at least one retail outlet — the Esso station at 1693 Kind Edward St. — had already boosted its posted price to 117.9 cents. By late afternoon, more than a dozen others had followed suit.

McTeague said if the gas-pipeline rupture in he United States is repaired by the end of this week, retail prices in Winnipeg could start to drift back down by the middle of next week.

"But Winnipeg gas retailers are very, very competitive to the point of hurting themselves," he added.

"So you might see it come down a lot quicker, given the nature of the market there."

He said it's hard to predict how far prices might fall, adding a lot depends on what happens with U.S. supply and demand.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca