Maritimers face rising prices at pumps, partly caused by Texas blizzard

Maritimers who didn't get a chance to fill up their vehicles with gas on Thursday faced a jump in the price at the pumps on Friday.

Filling up in Fredericton meant paying an extra 4.6 cents per litre for regular self-serve and it's causing some pain, at the pumps.

"You know as somebody who drives quite a bit, that adds quite a bit on to your monthly payments," said Dick Mawhinney.

During a pandemic, when people aren't on the roads as much, motorists wonder why gas increased more than four cents per litre this week in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

"It seems odd that it's rising as quickly as it is, hopefully it will level off in the not too distant future," said Scott Estey.

Energy pricing analyst Dan McTeague says the price hike was caused by the recent cold snap and winter storm in Texas.

"That four cent-a-litre increase wholesale was really directly related to what happened last week in Texas," McTeague said from Toronto.

That Texas blizzard paralyzed the biggest oil producer in North America, which lost 30 per cent of its production and refining capacity.

But even before the blizzard, prices were trending upwards.

"We're slowly but surely getting out of that period of time in which demand was really badly suppressed," McTeaguesaid.

He predicts Maritimers will see higher gas prices this year than last, mainly because more people will be getting vaccinated, giving them more confidence to return to some of their activities.

For Halifax's so-called "bike mayor," rising gas prices are a non-event.

"I haven't bought any for a very long time," said Jillian Banfield.

She says the economic uncertainties of the pandemic have driven more people towards pedal power.

"In the last year, we're seeing lots of people getting interested in cycling, and other modes of active transportation," Banfield said.

But for others, getting gas is part of making a living.

For taxi driver Darshan Virk, a higher price at the pumps means less money for him to take home after expenses.

"The cost of everything is not what it used to be, and it's beyond our control," said Virkof the United Cab Drivers' Association.

Virk says a four-cent jump at the gas station means an extra $400 on top of the $7,000 he spends on gas in a year.