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Across Canada, the average price of regular, unleaded gas hit $1.36.8 cents per litre this week, the highest level since Sept. 2008. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
Across Canada, the average price of regular, unleaded gas hit $1.36.8 cents per litre this week, the highest level since Sept. 2008. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Five key reasons for the run-up in gasoline prices Add to ...

Canadians drivers are once again fuming over a runup in pump prices before a long weekend. Across Canada, the average price of regular, unleaded gas hit $1.36.8 cents per litre this week, the highest level since Sept. 2008.

Here are five key reasons for the run-up:

MATT ROURKE/AP

1. Approach of summer driving season

Oil refineries typically do maintenance and switch from winter to summer formulations at this time of year, a process that reduces the supply on the North American market. Gasoline prices have risen virtually every spring for the past 10 years.
DMITRY MADORSKY/REUTERS

2. Higher crude prices

Both international and North American crude prices have trended higher since the beginning of 2014, driven by conflict with Russia - one of the world’s largest crude producers - and a rebounding U.S. economy.
JEFF McINTOSH/THE CANADIAN PRESS

3. A lower Canadian dollar

The dollar is off roughly 10 per cent against the U.S. dollar in the past year. Because crude prices are set in U.S. dollars, that means Canadian refiners are paying more for the oil, and importers have to pay more for their gasoline.

TODD KOROL FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

4. Lack of retail competition in Canada

The gasoline market here is dominated by a few major, integrated companies. In the U.S., the retail side of the business is more competitive, meaning profit margins are slimmer.
RAFAL GERSZAK FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

5. U.S. exports of gasoline and diesel out of North America

U.S. refiners on the Gulf Coast have a distinct cost advantage - thanks to lower natural gas prices - over offshore competitors. Exports of petroleum products are up 25 per cent in the past year, creating tighter supply/demand conditions in North America.

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