Market Snapshot: Canada’s gasoline prices in summer 2019 were lower than summer 2018

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Release date: 2019-11-13

During the Canadian summer driving season, which lasts from Victoria Day long weekend to Labour Day, Canadian gasoline demand increases by 10% to 20% above winter demand. This increase typically causes gasoline prices to rise in the summer, though changes to crude oil prices can also influence the price of gasoline.

During the summer of 2019, gasoline prices averaged $1.26 per litre, lower than gasoline prices in the summer of 2018, when they averaged $1.36 per litre. Over the longer term, gasoline prices generally track the changing price of crude oil.

Figure 1. Canadian average retail price of gasoline, diesel and crude oil

Source and Description

Source: Kent Group Ltd. and (CER), 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 2008 to 30 August 2019. It also shows the price of crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) in Canadian dollars per barrel. The shaded areas show the summer driving season between the Victoria Day long weekend and Labour Day, when gasoline prices typically rise from increased demand. Gasoline and diesel prices generally track the price of crude oil, though the difference between them is growing. Canada’s average gasoline price peaked in May 2018 at $1.39 per litre while the Canadian average diesel price peaked in July 2008 at $1.46 per litre. In 2014, gasoline and diesel prices fell, until 2016, when they have generally been on the rise. During the summer of 2019, gasoline and diesel prices averaged $1.26 per litre and $1.22 per litre, respectively.

Canada’s average diesel price averaged $1.22 per litre in the summer of 2019, also lower than last year. Diesel prices tend to track crude oil prices more closely than gasoline prices do. Diesel is mostly used by heavy trucks and trains to transport freight and for industrial purposes, and less so for personal transportation in Canada. Therefore, demand for diesel does not always seasonally change like demand for gasoline.

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