Toronto gas prices expected to hit $1.32 on weekend

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, gas prices across the nation shot up 7 cents in the past week to an average of $2.43.

Prices always rise in the summer with holiday travel, and this weekend's Labor Day getaway is usually the last spike before prices subside.

The damage and flooding caused by Harvey has sidelined about 31 per cent of total US capacity for producing gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, said McTeague. Marie, Thunder Bay, and Timmins have been reporting the highest gas prices, in the range of 131.9 to 133.9 cents per litre.

Gasbuddy.com reported a two-cent hike in the average Canadian price on Friday to nearly $1.18 per litre.

Wholesale gasoline and jet fuel prices have soared as at least 4.4 million barrels per day of refining capacity, or almost 24 percent of total USA capacity, has been closed due to the record rains.

"There are no confirmed reports of gas shortages in Phoenix or Arizona at this time", Arizona communication director for AAA, Michelle Donati, said.

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It said outbound pipelines, including the 2.6 million bpd Colonial system to NY, are unable to source product from Houston, leading to surging fuel prices throughout the United States.

In Western Canada, prices also leapt based on oil trading in Chicago, said Mr. McTeague.

Dan McTeague, a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.com, says he has no doubt a price jump is coming.

TD Securities analyst Bart Melek said in a note Friday he expects crude oil prices to strengthen to above US$50 per barrel before the end of September as Houston refineries, ocean import facilities and pipelines gradually return to normal operations.

It could always be worse, however - McTeague said prices rose in Ontario and Quebec by 20 cents a litre across the board.

Since Friday, the average cost of gasoline is up 10 cents gallon, with a national average of $2.45 per gallon, according to AAA, the highest of the year.

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