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Canada's Gasoline Prices Set To Rise As Driving Season Starts

Alberta's wildfires could shut in more oil production, adding to rising gasoline demand at the start of Canada's driving season this weekend and pushing gasoline prices in Canada higher, analysts told The Canadian Press ahead of long May 20-22 long weekend.

"It's not unusual to see gas prices go up and down around weekends, and especially long weekends," Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management, told The Canadian Press.

Wildfires in Alberta could put upward pressure on oil and gasoline prices, the analysts say.

Following a brief respite at the end of last week, the wildfires in Alberta began raging again this week as temperatures rose, threatening the oil sands operations in the province and forcing operators to shut in oil and gas production. 

Meanwhile, U.S. gasoline prices are stuck at an average of $3.53 per gallon this week, unchanged from last week, AAA estimated on Thursday.

"Despite mild weather and a less volatile economic forecast, drivers are not hitting the road and raising gasoline demand to traditional seasonal levels," AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross said.

"It's possible this is merely the lull before Memorial Day, but it could be a trend that lingers into summer."

Still, the average U.S. gasoline price is now $1.075 per gallon below year-ago levels, according to Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at fuel-saving app GasBuddy.  

The national average price of gasoline this Memorial Day weekend is expected to be $1.10 less than it was in 2022, at $3.53 per gallon on average, GasBuddy said on Thursday.

According to GasBuddy's 2023 Summer Travel Survey, released on Thursday, 64% of Americans are planning to take a summer road trip this year, up from 58% last year. However, 60% of that group has yet to confirm their plans by booking accommodations, activities, or other travel plans.

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"While gas prices are far lower in most areas than they were last year, Americans seem to feel a bit worse about the economy this year on the heels of rising interest rates, the bank crisis, and inflation that has spiked, impacting their ability to take a road trip during the summer driving season," GasBuddy's De Haan commented. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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