Drivers go the distance for cheap gas

A pair of small southwestern Ontario communities had early morning gas wars Tuesday.

While London sat at $1.19 a litre, St. Thomas and Strathroy each hovered around the $1.00 mark.

Filling up in south London, Hiwar Mohammed wasn't thrilled to hear the big difference just 20 kilometres away.

"If you go to the north too, it drops by about seven cents," says Mohammed. "It doesn't make sense in the same city."

He referenced Mount Brydges and Woodstock as communities notorious for being cheaper than London. Gas price watchdog Dan McTeague says St. Thomas is known to have gas wars a couple times a year.

"Right now it's costing about 67 to 69 cents a litre to buy fuel and if you include the taxes you can't be selling it for under $1.09," says McTeague, the president of Canadians for Affordable Energy. "That's the hard cost number whether in London, Strathroy or St Thomas."

At just over a dollar a litre in the area drivers were taking advantage. Phil Robinson came from Aylmer to St Thomas to get gas at the Mobil on Talbot Street. However, even at the reduced rate, he isn't thrilled about Canadian costs.

"The trouble is it's all taxes and we shouldn't be paying anywhere near this price," says Robinson.

Allan Smith was filling up at the next pump and says many of his colleagues find it cheaper to come from London to St. Thomas to fill up, but for him there is no savings to top up his truck.

"With diesel, it doesn't matter," says Smith. "It's always $1.25 per litre everywhere, so I'm always paying too much."

McTeague says the cost jumped back up that magic retail number of $1.09 in St. Thomas by the afternoon.

He says even those selling for $1.19 are really only making about an eight-cent margin which barely covers the cost of staff, electricity, and municipal taxes.

He advises Londoners to buy gas in the evening.

"After 6 p.m. that price of $1.19 most times will come down seven or eight cents a litre, so never fill up in morning or afternoon."

And McTeague has one more piece of advice when prices plummet.

"Filler up folks if they are giving gas cheaper than what it costs them, fill your tanks.”