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'We feel the urgency': N.S. premier considering options as gas prices reach record high


Gas prices are at an all-time high in the Maritimes and across Canada, and analysts warn the prices will likely continue to climb as Russia’s attack on Ukraine puts pressure on the oil market.

Nova Scotians were warned Monday about a possible jump at the pumps as the Utility and Review Board announced it would invoke its interrupter clause due to shifts in the market prices of gasoline and diesel oil.

There were long lines at gas stations in Nova Scotia Monday night as motorists filled their vehicles before the price adjustment at midnight.

“I just put it in this morning, $105. Last year I put in the same amount for $55,” said taxi driver Abdul Jahani after filling up his car in Halifax Tuesday.

The price of regular self-serve jumped by 10.9 cents, to sit at 186.2 cents per litre, in Nova Scotia’s Zone 1. Diesel in the Halifax area increased by 9.6 cents and is now selling for 199.7 cents per litre.

“Probably cost about $120 to fill my car and I have to do it at least every week,” said motorist Debbie Mitchell.

There was also a massive hike on Prince Edward Island. Islanders are now paying 186.5 cents per litre for regular self-serve -- an increase of 12.6 cents. Diesel jumped 10.4 cents overnight and is selling for 209.0 cents per litre on P.E.I.

Gas prices did not change in New Brunswick overnight.

Experts say prices will almost certainly get worse following the U.S. decision to ban Russian oil imports.

“Unfortunately that is the case,” said vice-president of the Canadian Fuels Association, Carol Montreuil.

“What we’ve seen after the decision of the United States, as we speak, the markets are reacting very, very violently.”


This is the third time a Maritime province has invoked the interrupter clause since Friday and Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston says he’s concerned about the skyrocketing gas prices and overall increases to cost of living.

“We’re seeing inflation across the board in groceries and rent, in gas, we’re just seeing incredible inflation and I know it’s putting tremendous pressure on Nova Scotians, so I’m very worried about that,” said Houston on Tuesday.

“We feel the urgency. It’s a pretty significant increase in the last three days. We’re obviously watching what’s happened in Ukraine as well, and understand the impact that that’s having.”

Some are calling on governments to intervene by cutting back on some of the tax they collect.

The federal excise tax on gasoline is 10 cents per litre. On P.E.I. there’s another 8.47 cents per litre, 15.5 cents in Nova Scotia and 10.87 cents in New Brunswick.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Monday that his government will temporarily stop collecting the provincial fuel tax on April 1, cutting fuel prices by 13 cents per litre.

Houston said Tuesday that his government is looking at options, but didn’t offer any specifics.

“We’re looking at every option that’s on the table, so if we can do something to support Nova Scotians, we’re assessing that,” said Houston.

“My message to Nova Scotians is, we’re concerned, we share your concern, we’re looking to see what’s possible as a government.”

The premier said his government is having discussions with other premiers about what can be done to provide some relief.

Officials on P.E.I. say they won’t scrap the tax for now, but Tuesday afternoon Premier Dennis King announced a $20-million funding package — about $15 million of which will go directly to residents.

“Islanders earning up to $35,000, and who file their taxes, will receive a one-time payment of $150 and Islanders earning between $35,000 and $50,000 will receive a $75 one-time payment per individual,” said Finance Minister Darlene Compton.


The rising cost of fuel is leaving no industry untouched.

Corey Childs, president of the Saint John Home Builders’ Association, said it would normally cost about $500 to fill the tank of a truck at his flooring and concrete business.

“Yesterday it was $800, so it was a significant increase,” says Childs. “And unfortunately that gets passed down to the end user and the end user is the consumer.”

The tourism industry is hoping its recovery from COVID-19 won’t be thwarted by the rising fuel costs.

“I think people will still come, especially the campers,” said Carol Alderdice, president of the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick. “But I don’t know if they’ll be able to come for as long as they would be able to afford to come with the gas prices as they are.”

The trucking industry is uncertain about when fuel prices may peak, and by how much.

“We do have a fuel surcharge that comes out every week,” says Jean-Marc Picard of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association. “But now we’re taking a hit everyday because we’re a week behind.”

Picard says smaller trucking operations will take an even bigger hit.

“They have to pay for the fuel up front for their delivery but (they) likely won’t get paid for a month. So they’ve got to be solid financially.” Top Stories

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