The first few days of the new year have been kind to Weyburn residents. Warm weather, a Red Wings win over Estevan and low, low prices on gas. Many gas stations are charging roughly 92.9 cents a litre as of January 3 and the prices dip even lower in Regina and other markets.
Dan McTeague, the Senior Petroleum Analyst for GasBuddy.com, says Saskatchewan, and the southeast in particular, are seeing some of the lowest fuel prices in recent memory.
"It has everything to do with the price of oil, which has dropped over $30 a barrel," McTeague explained. "Since October, we've seen an interesting decrease in pump prices. Today we're seeing a lot of prices under a dollar a litre. Things have changed dramatically and we're taking advantage of prices we haven't seen in a very long time. You'd have to go back almost two years to see these kinds of prices."
Even with the dip in oil prices worldwide, some Canadians are still paying a lot more for gas. Looking at GasBuddy.com's "Heat Map", folks out in Ontario and Quebec are paying nearly 15 cents more per litre of gas.
McTeague says there a lot of contributing factors that lead to such discrepancies in prices, but it ultimately boils down to one variable.
"Tax difference is the one thing. Taxes tend to be a little higher and wholesale gasoline prices are higher," he noted. "You're in a sweet spot in Weyburn and the southeast where prices seem to be very competitive."
Prices at the pump will help out the wallet for short-term, but in the long run, it doesn't look as promising. As winter transitions to springtime, we could see a drastic increase in fuel costs.
"We are looking at steadily rising prices after January. The lower prices we have become accustomed to are going to rise by levels that are going to catch some of us on guard," McTeague said.
The Petroleum Analyst chalks it up to a few things. One is the more expensive summer oil that accounts for about five cents more per litre. Another is the looming carbon tax that could also add roughly five cents on every litre of gas at the pumps.
However, possibly the biggest reason is the worldwide industry surplus cuts, taking place in Alberta, Russia, Kazakhstan and many Middle-Eastern countries. These production cuts will drive up the worldwide cost of oil in the coming months.
For now, we'll enjoy saving a few extra bucks in our pockets as we roll through the first few weeks of 2019.