Pain at the pumps: Ottawa gas prices hit record levels

Ottawa gas prices hit a record high on Wednesday. (Maddy Eisenberg/Newstalk 580 CFRA

Ottawa drivers are paying record prices at some gas stations today, and prices are set to rise even more by the weekend.

Gas prices increased four cents a litre at stations across Ottawa and southern Ontario Wednesday morning to an average of 190.9 cents a litre.

Some stations in Ottawa were selling gasoline for 191.9 cents a litre.

President for Canadians for Affordable Energy Dan McTeague told CP24 that Imperial Oil decided to increase its retail margin by one cent a litre, raising prices to 191.9 cents a litre.

McTeague says prices are expected to drop one cent a litre on Thursday before increasing a nickel on Friday.

"Unless things change dramatically, we're looking at a scenario be 194.9, maybe even 195.9," McTeague said, adding prices could rise to $2 a litre by the May long weekend.

McTeague says the European Union's decision to ban the purchase of Russian oil by the end of the year and China eventually lifting lockdowns will drive up the price of oil by $10 a barrel, increasing the cost of gasoline.

According to ottawagasprices.com, the average price of gasoline in Ottawa was $1.24 a litre one year ago and 79 cents a litre on May 4, 2020.

McTeague says there's no relief in sight for motorists.

"This is going to get a lot more painful and it is going to be a lot more long-lasting," McTeague told CP24.

"There really isn't anything in sight that would cause these prices to drop.”

Increase in gas and dash thefts in Ontario

The Ontario Convenience Store Association says there's been an increase in gas and dash thefts at gas stations as gasoline prices rise.

"Last year, there were 21,000 drive offs in Ontario, with an average loss of $52 a drive off. This year, we're predicting almost 50,000 drive offs," Ontario Convenience Store Association CEO Dave Bryans during an interview on Newstalk 580 CFRA's Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron.

"Most police agencies have already said it's tripled in the first quarter of people desperate to fill up but not have the money to pay, so they believe they can drive away."

The Ontario Convenience Store Association expects the reports of gas and dash will get worse as prices continue to rise.

"It's a victimless crime, people think. There's hardly any charges over the years, it's just that people say they forgot to pay and go back and pay if they're challenged by police services," Bryans said.

The Ontario Convenience Store Association is calling on Ontario to support Bill 231 "The Protecting Ontarians By Enhancing Gas Station Safety to Prevent Gas and Dash Act." The bill would require drivers to prepay before filling up the gas tank.

With files from CTV News Toronto's Pat Foran