Expert analysis: Metro Vancouver's record-high gas prices to jump another 5 cents

Metro Vancouver’s record-high gas prices are expected to soar even higher this week.

Drivers in the region are facing more pain at the pumps than anywhere in the country right now.

Many stations in the Lower Mainland were charging 222.9 cents per litre Monday, the highest price this region has ever seen, breaking the previous record set Friday.

A leading energy price expert says gas prices could go up an additional five cents per litre this week.

That’s because May 9 marks Victory Day in Russia and could prove pivotal when it comes to the trajectory of the war in Ukraine.

If the situation worsens, prices are expected to climb, he said.

Even if the war ends in the near future, analyst Dan McTeague says high gas prices are expected to stay in place for a while because sanctions will likely remain on Russia's energy sector.

Supply and demand continues to be an issue and the weaker Canadian dollar is a contributing factor as well.

The average price of gas in Canada is pushing towards $1.97 per litre.

British Columbians are shelling out an average of $2.06 per litre.

The summer season will also play a role in pushing gas prices higher, as more people hit the road and travel.

The unofficial start of that begins in less than two weeks for the May long weekend.

HIGHER GROCERY BILLS

British Columbians have already been feeling the pinch from inflation for months now.

Prices have soared at grocery stores and restaurants and the rising cost of transportation is just one variable.

“These days, you have climate, you have geopolitics, and energy costs are just another factor being added to this pile of factors driving prices higher,” said Sylvain Charlebois, the director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University.

Farmers in particular are expected to take a big hit due to soaring diesel prices.

“They're going to be seeding, but they're going to be paying more and we're talking thousands and thousands of dollars,” said Charlebois.

He says a focus on buying local will be the key to finding lower prices going forward.

“The closer you are to the point of sale, the less likely you're vulnerable to these fluctuations,” explained Charlebois.

Imported goods which have to travel long distances will see the most noticeable hikes.

“The thing about B.C. is that the province itself actually does produce a lot of food, basically, all year round. And so I do expect many food products not to be impacted as much,” he explained.

Charlebois described inflation as “an economic disease,” saying it’s out of control in both Canada and the U.S.

“We're in a dangerous place right now. So you have to be careful as consumers in terms of how you manage your budget, there are necessities of life. Shelter and food are two of them,” he said.

Charlebois says we’re far from out of the woods as well.

“If you were to consider the current inflation cycle as a hockey game, we're probably in the middle of the first period right now,” he said.

FOOD DELIVERY SURCHARGES

The higher cost of transportation may also lead to more expensive orders for food delivery customers.

“They could see surcharges happening, if they actually are getting their food delivered to their homes through different apps. Whether it's in food service or retail, when fuel prices jump like that, that's what happens, because you can't really adjust fees. So just add a surcharge temporarily,” Charlebois told CTV News.

For example, Uber started added a $0.35 surcharge on every delivery back in March.

British Columbia does have laws limiting what delivery services can charge.

In December, the province extended its food delivery cap, which limits the fees delivery companies can charge restaurants, but it does not apply to fuel surcharges.

“We know the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia is leading to increased fuel costs around the world, having a financial impact on people and families - including food delivery drivers,” wrote a spokesperson from the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation in an email to CTV News Monday.

The 15 per cent delivery cap and the 5 per cent processing fee will be in place until the end of 2022.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Michele Brunoro, Lisa Steacy and Kendra Mangione