Record-high gas prices leave major impacts on low-income families in N.S.
At $1.49 per litre, gas prices in the Sydney, N.S. area are the highest they have ever been.
It’s the most you'll pay at the pumps anywhere in Nova Scotia after gas went up more than three cents a litre overnight Thursday. While it’s impacting anyone who drives, the pain at the pumps is being felt most by people living on low incomes.
Chester Borden is executive director of the Boys and Girls Club in Whitney Pier, N.S. Many of those who use the facility come from low-income backgrounds.
"We do travel a lot. We have a bus and a van," Borden said.
He added with the latest jump in fuel costs, the club will likely have to cut down on field trips.
"That's probably right. Because again, as a non-profit you set your budget in April, and when you have a spike like this, you have to go back and re-evaluate all your programs. And travel is a big thing here, it's a big cost for us," said Borden.
At the Glace Bay Food Bank, getting a grocery order to a family in need now comes at an added cost for the not-for-profit.
"We have drivers here that go and pick up our orders from different stores that donate," says food bank coordinator Linda MacRae. “Definitely going to impact them. I don't know how long they're going to be able to volunteer to do that because of the gas prices."
Mike Pace sells home heating oil and propane in the Sydney area. He was shocked at the gas prices he woke up to Friday morning.
"It's been a lot of years that I've been doing this, and that is the highest gas price I've seen," Pace said.
Pace added for lower-income customers who are often paying in installments to heat their homes and apartments, the high prices of the oil itself - and the fuel for their trucks to get it there - makes for a big increase.
"We have to go twice as many times to that customer who's ordering a pre-set amount," Pace said. “Not only are they paying more, they're expenses will double. So will ours."
Borden says these gas prices, on top of the other effects of inflation these days, all have him feeling like he's between a rock and a hard place.
"When COVID-19 hit, we went from serving a hundred kids a day at our location to serving a community for food," Borden said. “The price of food has gone up. The price of gas has gone up. It seems everything is going up and more people need."