'Gas bar shenanigans': When is the best day to buy gas?

Canadians filling up at the pumps in several provinces are seeing increases of up to 13 cents per litre, as the federal government’s carbon tax goes into effect.

Part of the reason is retailers trying to recoup weekend losses, according to GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst Dan McTeague. He told CTV News Channel on Monday that it’s what he calls “gas bar shenanigans”: as retailers raise prices after dropping the price of gas over the weekend for competition.

“Gas stations do themselves no favours by trying to compete against Costco,” he said.

Come Monday, they increase the price again to recover. This Monday, with the carbon tax coming into effect in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick, there was an additional 5 cents added, with many seeing increases of 12 to 13 cents at the pump.

“It’s looking a lot bigger than it really is,” said McTeague. “Retailers tend to remove their retail margin. On Monday morning, like any other morning, they’re actually adding not only the lost 7 or 8 cents a litre, which is their retail margin, they’re actually putting on the 5 cents.”

While increases can seem inevitable, there is indeed a “best day” to buy gas, he said.

“Sunday afternoon, Sunday evenings. Some people are really understanding that as being an important change in terms of the behaviour of when to buy. You can save as much as seven or eight cents a litre,” he said. “There are things you can’t get around. That’s when you see a government tax of this magnitude. We’ll be doing this again next year when it goes up by 2.5 cents a litre on pretty much every province.”

The new federal tax costs $20 per tonne of carbon emissions and is expected to reach $50 by 2022.

“Life is about to get a lot more expensive,” said McTeague.