A leading energy price expert says gas prices could go up another five cents across Canada if Russia decides to intensify its assault on Ukraine or declare all-out war come Monday.
Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, says May 9 marks Victory Day in Russia and could prove pivotal when it comes to the trajectory of the war in Ukraine.
McTeague says gas prices could go up an additional five cents per litre next week as well if the situation worsens in Ukraine and as Canadians gear up for the May long weekend, which is typically considered the unofficial start of summer.
The average price of gas in Canada is pushing towards $1.97 per litre, with British Columbians feeling the most pain at the pump, shelling out an average of $2.06 per litre.
Vancouver is seeing $2.22 per litre, Victoria residents are paying $2.17 per litre, drivers in Montreal are dealing with $2.07 per litre, and prices in St. John's stand at $2.03 per litre.
But McTeague says even if the war in Ukraine comes to an end in the near future, high gas prices are expected to stay in place for a while because sanctions will likely remain on Russia's energy sector.
The supply-demand issue that was weighing on the oil industry long before the war broke out isn't going to go away either, he adds.
"(Some people think) all this is because of Russia, but nothing could be further from the truth," he said. "It is a matter of fundamentals. There was less supply and more demand before and that hasn't changed."
McTeague also said the summer season will play a role in pushing gas prices higher as more people hit the road, explore and travel.
"During the summer, gasoline prices tend to detach from oil prices – they go much higher," he said.
He also points to a weaker Canadian dollar as a contributing factor.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2022.