Ottawa has third cheapest gas in country: StatsCan

OBJ Staff
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Those who pout at the pumps in Ottawa may want to think again.

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Gas prices in Ottawa may have increased by 22 per cent since 2008, but the city still sits in the No. 3 spot for the cheapest gas across the country and the lowest in all of eastern Canada, according to a study by Statistics Canada.

The average price for unleaded gasoline at a self-service station in October 2008 was $1.02 per litre. By October of this year, that was up to $1.25.

To find cheaper gas, one would have to travel west: only Edmonton and Calgary have lower average prices when compared to 18 major cities and regions across the country, according to the study.

Average amounts per litre range from $1.14 in Edmonton to $1.40 in Quebec.

The largest jump was in Montreal, with an increase of 26 per cent over the past four years.

Gasoline prices in central and eastern Canada are rising more quickly than those in the west, according to the study.

It says the trend since 2011 is due to a growing price gap between the types of oil refineries in both parts of the country use.

In the west, gasoline is based on the North American benchmark, West Texas Intermediate crude, which has been suppressed lately by a lack of pipeline capacity and growing domestic supplies.

Refineries in the East import a lot of their crude from overseas, which has been driven higher by conflicts in the Middle East and growing demand from China.

On Friday, there was about a US$24 price gap between West Texas Intermediate and Brent, the key international oil benchmark.

In Statistics Canada's 2009 Consumer Price Index, gasoline made up 5.8 per cent of an average Canadian's household budget. Oil accounts for about half of the price of gasoline, with local market dynamics and provincial taxes also affecting the final pump price.

 

-With files from the Canadian Press

Organizations: North American, Statistics Canada, Canadian Press

Geographic location: Ottawa, Eastern Canada, Edmonton West Texas Intermediate Middle East Calgary Montreal

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