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A motorist fills his car with gas in Montreal in this 2012 file photo.

The Globe and Mail

Motorists filling up at the gas pump continue to see price hikes across Canada with some areas reaching record or near-record highs.

The price of gasoline in the Montreal and suburban Laval areas jumped to $1.53 per litre Wednesday, tying a record high set two years ago.

That's about nine cents higher than the price posted at most gas stations on Tuesday.

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In New Brunswick, the maximum price for self-serve gas hit $1.407 cents a litre, according to reports, nearing the record of $1.422 cents set in 2012.

In Halifax, tracker GasBuddy.com reports the price at 1.430 cents per litre, and at $1.498 in Vancouver.

Toronto area prices are in the $1.388 range, while Calgary is the lowest at $1.226, according to GasBuddy.com.

The average price of gas across Canada on Wednesday morning was $1.375 a litre.

The increases follow on spikes last week ahead of the Easter weekend.

"It's a little bit surprising. Crude prices across North America have been significantly stronger in recent weeks," said Patricia Mohr, vice-president and commodity market specialist at Bank of Nova Scotia.

West Texas Intermediate crude, North America's leading benchmark, was selling at at a discount to international prices but is now going for a lot more, she said.

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That is in part due to technical developments, including the startup of the Gulf Coast pipeline between Cushing, Okla., and Texas refineries, she said.

"It has drained inventories out of Cushing," said Ms. Mohr. Cushing is the pricing point for Nymex crude contracts.

Another key factor is the risk premium in international oil prices related to volatile geo-political events such as uncertainty in Ukraine and Russia, a major oil-producing region, she said.

There is added pressure on Canadian prices because of the decline in the value of the dollar against the U.S. currency, other analysts point out.

"Oil prices are going to remain fairly high this year," Ms. Mohr cautions.

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