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Fuel prices on the rise in Alberta


Drivers in Canada are once again feeling the financial pinch of rising fuel prices, and the nation's energy centre, Alberta, is no exception.

Calgarians awoke Wednesday morning to prices at the pump sitting at 159.9 cents per litre at many gas stations across the city.

In Edmonton, similar price increases had some stations selling regular grade gas for 156.9 cents per litre.

"The wholesale price has risen so dramatically that gas stations are having a hard time trying to keep up," said market analyst Dan McTeague.

"If you look at wholesale prices in Edmonton and Calgary just two weeks ago, it was about 96 cents per litre. That number today is $1.27, so it's about 30 cents on the wholesale side, and that's because of the spot market in the United States."

Gas stations must then account for federal taxes before listing the price they offer to drivers.

Refinery issues south of the border at two U.S. plants are also contributing to the latest uptick.

"There are always refinery issues, that doesn't mean there is a shortage, but it is, at least in part, why we've seen prices rocket," said McTeague.

"There's also a critical problem, and that's the fact that this is known as maintenance season. So you have planned and unplanned maintenance. That tends to decrease the amount of production as you would expect in the post-summer demand period."

Another issue for Canadian drivers, according to McTeague, is the struggling Canadian dollar. 

"The fact that it takes more than 130 pennies to buy a U.S. dollar is costing you and I an extra 35 cents a litre for the price of diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, take your pick," explained McTeague.

"Bottom line, there is a huge cost to blocking pipelines and fiddling with your number one revenue generator."

For drivers, the expectation is that prices in Alberta will only go up.

Albertans will be see the resumption of a portion of the provincial fuel tax — 4.5 cents per litre — effective Saturday. 

The province removed its 13 cents per litre tax earlier this year in an attempt to offer relief to Albertans.

When the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) drops between US$85 to $89.99, the province will reintroduce 4.5 cents per litre tax. Once WTI drops to between US$80 and $84.99, it will reintroduce a nine cents per litre tax. And finally, the full 13 cents per litre tax will be reintroduced when WTI dips below US$79.99.

Marked gasoline and marked diesel will also be affected.

"As Albertans continue to deal with inflation and high costs, Alberta’s government will continue to provide some of the most generous measures in the country to keep more money in the pockets of Albertans," said Finance Minister Jason Nixon in a statement released last week.

Fuel tax savings will be calculated quarterly.

With files from CTV News' Saif Kaisar Top Stories

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