Why gasoline prices are so high in Ontario

A price war between two major types of gasoline is heating up in Ontario.

Gasoline is getting pricier.

And a growing number of Ontarians are finding out the hard way that it can’t always be that way.CBC News has learned the price of a gallon of regular Canadian regular unleaded gasoline is at $3.26.

That’s up $1.10 from Thursday and up more than $1 per litre from Friday.

“It’s a bit of a shock, especially when you’re a new person who’s not used to a gallon and that can be a pretty high price,” said Kevin Rolfe, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Energy.

“I think it’s a sign that the market is not ready for a significant increase in the price,” he said.

Rolfe said Ontario was the second-highest-spending province in Canada for unleaded gas, and the price has increased by about 60 per cent since June.

“That price increase is certainly a reflection of the volatility of the market right now,” he added.

Ralfe said that’s been the case for about a year, but the increase in gasoline prices has become a real challenge for many Ontarians.

“When you’re seeing that spike, it makes people wonder, how much longer will I be able to afford to pay that $3, or how much more will I have to pay for gas?” said John Boudreau, a senior executive with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

He said some people are struggling to afford the price hike, and some are even taking a gamble to drive to a store and buy gasoline from them.

“There’s a lot of people who just don’t have the cash to go out and get it,” he told CBC News.

“They may think, maybe they can get it for free, or they may think they can find it for sale.”

The Ontario government said it expects to raise gasoline prices by $2 to $3 per litres over the next six months.

“The government expects to impose the increase as soon as the market conditions allow,” said a spokesperson.

But the spokesperson said there will be a grace period of three months to allow consumers to negotiate.

Boudreau said that could make it difficult for some people to find gas, especially those in rural areas where prices are lower.

“Some people may find it difficult to get gas because it’s not going to be as cheap,” he explained.

Roland O’Connor is a reporter with CBC News in Ontario and the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party in Ottawa.

He is a freelance journalist based in Toronto.

Follow him on Twitter: @RolandOBrien