Louise Pasko is not driving as much these days.
The downtown Toronto resident says she’s been forced to park her car and walk to some places as gas prices hit new highs in recent weeks, topping $2 a litre in several places.
“I think it’s ridiculous. I have to go up north every weekend and it’s costing me a fortune,” Pasko told CBC News.
“Over half a tank — $62. That’s crazy, especially for us seniors.”
“I’m not driving as much, actually— I try not to drive. Because I live downtown, I can walk to most places, but in the summer I go up north, so it costs me a lot of money,” Pasko added.
President of Canadians for Affordable Energy Dan McTeague says gas prices in the Greater Toronto Area went up by 5 cents per litre on Friday to $2.07, and would also jump by 5 cents on Saturday and another 5 cents on Sunday.
“I think by Sunday we’ll be paying just under 208 a litre,” he said.
“It’s 78 cents a litre more expensive year over year. That’s big. Huge.”
No relief in sight
With the May 24 long weekend coming up in Canada and the Memorial Day long weekend in the U.S. the following week, McTeague says people who drive will have to dig deeper in their pockets.
“[Memorial Day long weekend is] their official kickoff to the summer driving season, so I don’t see any relief in sight,” he told CBC News.
Meanwhile, McTeague believes the high gas prices will force some people to pull out of any road trips they had planned for the May 24 weekend.
“I think a lot of people are going to rethink driving that weekend, but for a lot of people, you know, the damage is done, they’re already committed, they have to drive up north to go see their friends, their relatives, they have camping plans,” he said.
“I think it’s just the other stuff, the frills in between, maybe stopping by to grab a burger somewhere or maybe staying overnight at a hotel. That’s now very much in play.”
“If you’re budgeting an additional 78 cents a litre and of course, you’re using 50 litres of gasoline, that’s an extra 40 bucks, so that’s the cost of a meal along the way.”
Barry Brooks is doubtful about taking any summer road trips this year.
“Taking trips with this price of gas, you really have to limit yourself because it’s so expensive,” the Torontonian told CBC News.
“Especially if you’re using a higher octane gas, it’s much more expensive as well, it’s over $2 a litre, so it limits how much you want to drive and how much you want to spend on gasoline.”
Like Pasko, Brooks says he will be driving a lot less.
“I’m trying to limit my driving, using the TTC as much as possible and cycling around the city and limiting my trips outside the city as a result of the price of gas,” he said.
“I limit my driving as much as I can, but obviously, you know, for certain times you need your vehicle, so there’s only so much limitation you can do on it.”
It’s not yet clear if the high gas prices will cause large numbers of people to lose out on the provincial government’s “staycation tax credit.”
Announced Nov. 4, the credit aims to boost local business by offering people who book overnight stays in Ontario for anytime in 2022 a return of 20 per cent on accommodation expenses of up to $1,000 per person or $2,000 per family.