For everyone who stretched credit cards over the holidays, there is some good news: not since 2009
have retail gas prices been so low in Alberta. That means all families will have a little more left over at the end of the month.
According to MJ Ervin & Associates, the lowest gas price in the province was in Edmonton, where a litre of regular averaged 96.4 cents in December. In Calgary the average was 98.3 cents per litre and in Red Deer, 99.9 cents per litre. At 20.8 cents since September, the dip in retail gas prices has been dramatic. Many will have noticed that prices continued their slide in the New Year, with GasBuddy.com reporting some retailers selling gas at less than 90 cents per litre in Edmonton.
While there’s a slight gap in gas prices across the province, there’s a substantial gap between Alberta
and the rest of the country, where retail gas prices averaged $1.19 per litre in December. There are
two big reasons for that big divergence: the differences in provincial taxes and the cost regional refiners pay for crude (many East Coast refiners pay substantially more).
How much extra jingle does a drop of 20 cents at the pump put in your pockets? Every household
will be different, but we can estimate. As of 2008 Transport Canada reported that the typical family
in Alberta had 1.87 vehicles, each traveling 15,600 kilometres per year. So, based on average vehicle
fuel economy, and assuming the lower prices persist, the price drop could net that typical family
*Will van ‘t Veld, Economist, ATB Financial