ALGARY – A study by Statistics Canada says gasoline prices in Central and Eastern Canada are rising more quickly than those in the West.
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.