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Gas prices set to spike to highest in 2 years

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Simcoe Muskoka motorists are being warned to expect a significant hike in gasoline prices this week as prices rise to the highest level since August 2022.

According to Canadians for Affordable Energy president Dan McTeague, gas prices are predicted to increase 14 cents a litre at stations across the region and Ontario by midnight on Thursday.

That means motorists wanting to fill up on Thursday could do so at 179.9 cents a litre on average.

"In case anybody was counting, that's a number we haven't seen, a figure we haven't seen going back to August., 2, 2022," McTeague told CTV News on Wednesday. "These are very extraordinary events. We're seeing these prices move up dramatically as a result; I think we can expect that, certainly, inflation will be impacted by this."

This week's increase is due to the higher cost of summer-blend gasoline. The cheaper winter blend will return in the fall.

That's in addition to rising tensions in the Middle East, which are attributed to oil increases and Ottawa's rising carbon tax, which will all contribute to keeping prices at the pumps high this summer.

For motorists, the hike could have many deeper into their pockets.

However, for businesses that rely on transportation to operate, every cent hurts their bottom line.

"it is taking a major chunk of our profits for gas expenses," said Syed Haider, the owner of Barrie Courier Services. "It is challenging for us to raise the price to consumers."

Haider's business operates over 35 fleet vehicles on a 24/7 basis.

He said most of his clients are hospitals in the region, which requires drivers to travel anywhere from 400 km to 600 km per day.

Haider is meeting with his financial advisor to consider switching to electric, but he admits the upfront costs are daunting.

While he's still managing to make money, he said the demand for his services has decreased since the pandemic ended.

"They are still facing challenges," he added. "I can see figures. It is about 60 to 80 per cent that some are still down. The companies used to use us on a daily basis. Now, we have only three to five orders a month."

Craig Ellis of On Time Taxi has switched some of his vehicles to hybrid models to keep costs lower.

In total, Ellis has nine vehicles, split between his own company and as a broker with Deluxe Taxi in Barrie.

"We increased our rates last week, a small percentage of a kilometre," Ellis said.

Ellis anticipated the semi-annual hike and has factored in further gas hikes into how he raised his rates.

However, he's actively wanting to avoid putting the cost on his customers.

"We just can't keep gouging the customer," he added. "We've tapped out now."

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