Near-record gas prices

Gasoline prices in Metro Vancouver have hit $1.50 a litre and are near record highs, with at least one analyst saying they could climb further still.

Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, says a refinery outage in Burnaby is partially to blame for the recent spike in prices that have crested $1.50 a litre at some locations.

The 55,000 barrel-a-day Parkland Fuel refinery, which McTeague says supplies about a quarter of demand in the region, has been down for planned maintenance since early February and the company says it doesn't expect to have it fully running again until the end of March.

McTeague says southwestern B.C. is chronically short on all types of fuel, so it is especially vulnerable to price spikes when any source of supply is disrupted.

He says there are no easy solutions to the supply issues, so as gasoline demand increases into the summer months, any disruptions could send prices past the previous record of $1.56 in June 2014.

High taxes are also compounding the problems, says McTeague, with taxes making up 49.3 cents out of the 150.9 cent price per litre seen Wednesday, and another 1.2 cent per litre carbon tax coming in April.

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