Market Snapshot: In 2016, summer Canadian gasoline prices fell to their lowest level since 2010

Release date: 2016-09-29

During the Canadian summer driving season, which lasts from the Victoria Day long weekend to Labour Day, Canadian gasoline demand increases by 10% to 20% above winter demand. This increase in demand typically causes gasoline prices to rise in addition to any fluctuations related to crude oil prices, which tend to be the largest overall factor affecting gasoline prices.

During summer 2016, the weekly Canadian average retail gasoline price peaked on 7 June 2016 at $1.11 per litre and reached its lowest level on 2 August 2016 at $1.00 per litre. Summer 2016 gasoline prices averaged $1.06 per litre, the lowest level since prices averaged $1.02 per litre during summer 2010.

Source and Description

Source: Natural Resources Canada - Fuel Focus, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Description: This line chart illustrates the Canadian retail price of gasoline and diesel in cents per litre from 1 January 2005 to 30 August 2016. It also shows the price of crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) in Canadian dollars per barrel during the same timeframe. The shaded regions indicate the summer driving season between the Victoria Day long weekend and Labour Day, when gasoline prices typically rise due to increased demand. Gasoline and diesel prices generally track the price of crude oil. Canadian average gasoline and diesel prices peaked in mid-2008 at $1.34 per litre and $1.42 per litre, respectively, before dropping significantly in 2009. Gasoline and diesel prices rebounded in 2011 and remained relatively high until 2014, but have generally declined since mid-2014. During the summer of 2016, gasoline and diesel prices averaged $1.06 per litre and $0.99 per litre respectively.

The Canadian average diesel price was also lower during the summer of 2016, averaging $0.99 per litre. Diesel prices tend to track crude oil prices even more closely than gasoline prices, as diesel is primarily used for freight transportation and industrial purposes, and does not always experience the same seasonal demand variations as gasoline.

In the United States (U.S.), the summer driving season begins on the Memorial DayFootnote 1 long weekend and ends on Labor Day. The U.S. average retail price for regular gasoline was US$2.24 per gallon (or US 73.7 cents per litre)Footnote 2 on 29 August 2016. This is the lowest U.S. price on the Monday before Labor Day since 2004, and 12% lower than the price at the same time in 2015.

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