The good news about gas prices is that, in many parts of the country, they haven't been lower in years. And the really good news is they're unlikely to come back up anytime soon.
The price at the pump in the Toronto area hit a four-year low around $1.14 per litre this past weekend, according to the Toronto Star, down about 12 cents per litre from a year ago.
But as recently as the Canada Day weekend, Toronto gas prices were hovering around 140.9 cents
"We're down almost a third of the price in many places in the country,” Dan McTeague of TomorrowsGasPriceToday.com (TGPT) told CTV.
“That lends support to consumers being able to make ends meet.”
According to TGPT, the country’s lowest gas prices right now are in Red Deer, Alta. (99.9 cents per litre) and the highest prices among communities covered by TGPT are in the Vancouver area, at 127.9 cents per litre. But the site doesn't cover many communities in the north, where gas prices are often very high.
Prices over the past day or so have bounced off their weekend lows (Albertans especially saw pump prices jump in the past day) but they are still well below where they were just a few months ago.
Here are gas prices around the country as of Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. Story continues below.
Many analysts say the price of gas won’t be coming up back up soon.
Global oil prices have fallen by about 30 per cent since they peaked in June, and the International Energy Agency predicted last week that oil prices will fall further in 2015, to below $80 U.S. per barrel.
McTeague told the Star there are a number of reasons that oil prices are coming down in the long term, one of them being that the U.S. has become a major oil producer thanks to shale oil extraction.
Another reason is that some oil-producing countries, such as Iraq and Libya, have been embroiled in war, but “are starting to come back online with their big inventories of oil and are creating a real glut of oil around the world.”
Additionally, Saudi Arabia has been cutting the price of its oil exports, in a move analysts say is designed to squeeze competitors who have higher costs, such as the oil-shale extractors of North Dakota and the oilsands of Alberta.
The trend is good news for Canadian consumers but worse news for the energy sector and resource-exporting provinces.
Lower gas prices are putting more cash in consumers’ pockets, and the falling loonie has helped central Canadian exporters. But oil-producing areas like Alberta are facing the prospect of an underperforming economy.
BMO said last week that this turnaround is already (possibly) showing up in the economic data. Ontario has created more than half of all the new jobs in Canada in the past few months, while job numbers in the resources sector have declined sharply recently.
“Note that cities with the strongest job growth in Canada right now are not Calgary, Regina et al, but rather Guelph, Hamilton, Oshawa and Barrie — cities around the GTA with a manufacturing and trade presence,” BMO economist Robert Kavcic wrote.