Why gas prices for Kamloops, Okanagan are heading back down | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Why gas prices for Kamloops, Okanagan are heading back down

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Even though restrictions were placed on fuel consumption throughout B.C.’s coastal communities while the government asked residents to avoid unnecessary travel – gas prices are expected to drop in Kamloops and the Okanagan.

"It can be a bit of a head scratcher for the average commuter," said Patrick De Haan, petroleum analyst with Gas Buddy.

After a series of slides damaged and destroyed major sections of highway across the province, every gas station in the Lower Mainland and on the Island implemented 30 litre limits and many were still running dry.

De Haan said data from gasbuddy.com showed nearly three-quarters of stations in Victoria went dry, and one-quarter of stations of Vancouver ran out at one point.

However distributors came up with clever ways to deliver fuel, he said, such as by rail and barge.

The “initial consumer panic” seems to be wearing off, he said, as only 6.5% of Vancouver stations are currently dry while 8% of Victoria pumps are without fuel.

But De Haan said problems with regional distribution lines don’t have a significant effect on the price of gas. Refineries have not been severely impacted by the flooding and therefore the supply remains in good shape. And the inability to supply fuel to a few cities does not lead to price increases.

Despite how scarce it became in southwestern B.C., he said international pressures are causing the commodity to become more affordable.

READ MORE: Here’s why we still have food, supplies in Kamloops, Okanagan after highways closed

Motorists in the South Okanagan have already noticed a dip in price. Stations in Oliver and Penticton are selling gas for as low as $1.38.9 per litre – approximately 10 cents cheaper than one week earlier.

De Haan said the local price of gas is likely to continue trending in the downward direction “for the next couple of weeks” because of how much the global price of oil has dropped.

“It wasn’t just a small decline – it’s down 20% compared to a few weeks ago,” he said.

One of the major factors affecting the current price of oil is speculation over OPEC’s response to the new COVID variant.

READ MORE: B.C. identifies first COVID-19 Omicron variant while 204 others are tested

However long prices will remain low is “tricky to predict” as it will depend on the severity of the new variant, De Haan said, adding that investors in the oil market tend to get the jitters when governments begin to restrict travel.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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