Photo By: Krzysztof Hepner from Unsplash

It’s no secret that gas prices have been spiking over the past few weeks. In the Niagara Region, prices are currently hovering between $1.35 and $1.45 per litre, and these prices are expected to continue to rise in the coming weeks. 

This has come as the result of a global energy crisis which has limited the world’s crude oil supply. With many countries around the world slowly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, product demand has been extremely volatile. During the early stages of the pandemic when the world economy came to a halt, oil prices fell below zero, as most operations shut down and a majority of the world’s population stayed at home. 

During that time, Ontario gas prices fell as low as $0.60 per litre. Now, gas prices are the highest they’ve been since 2014.

Gas prices typically fluctuate with the seasons, but two years of lockdowns have greatly changed consumer habits, making them much harder to predict. Given the current supply however, it’s unlikely that prices will fall anytime soon. 

“As a student, it’s not like I can afford to buy a hybrid or electric car, [but] I also can’t afford to fill up my tank these days,” said Faith Meston, fifth-year accounting student. “I guess the silver lining is that my friends and I take the bus way more often now, but my next trip [home] to Waterloo will rack up quite the bill.”

This supply shortage has impacted utility bills in Europe and Asia, and North America will likely see similar impacts soon. FortisBC has already warned British Columbia residents that their bills will increase between 9 and twelve per cent later this month. Ontario’s biggest gas company Enridge has also stated they plan to increase charges in the new year. This could be especially troublesome in the case of another long, harsh winter.

It’s incredibly difficult to predict what will happen in the coming months as a result of this shortage. As the pandemic continues to wane in certain countries, many people are looking to make up for lost time, while others are still wary of returning to pre-pandemic life. In other countries, countries are still struggling to flatten the curve with so many new variants now in the mix. 

With all parts of the world in varying phases of pandemic recovery, it’s unclear what the future holds. For now, it might be a good idea to start collecting points to save a few dollars on your next tank of gas.