ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News
Ponoka residents may have to reach deeper into their pockets in the next few months, as oil prices continue to rise.
The price of crude oil is currently hovering around $112/barrel, which brings gas prices in Alberta to $1.15/litre.
A slight rise in demand and uncertainty of supply overseas are to blame for the increase in fuel prices.
Not only will travel expenses be higher for residents and businesses, but the cost of living is also set to inflate due to high transportation costs for companies.
This rise in oil prices continues to make Albertans wonder why gas prices here are so high when Alberta is such an oil-rich province.
“I think we should be getting gas much cheaper,” said Julie Evans, a self-employed travel agent in Ponoka. “If we produce it here, why is it so expensive?”
“The gas prices will affect my business, if my clients start getting charged fuel surcharges they’ll think twice about going on vacation,” said Evans.
In the case of Canada’s oil, which Alberta produces around 2/3 of; just under half of it is actually kept in Canada and used. The other half is exported to the United States due to the high return received from the normally low Canadian dollar.
According to Statistics Canada, energy prices increased 12.8 per cent in the last year, which in turn raises the consumer price index.
The consumer price index is a basket of goods that is specifically chosen to replicate the cost of living for residents of Canada.
With the high oil prices, food, shelter, clothing, transportation, health and recreation all increased in price from February to March.
It is unsure when exactly consumers will start seeing the effect of this rise in crude oil prices, but there is one positive thing for Alberta and the oil communities; jobs.
On average, the first quarter of 2011 saw 68 per cent of Canada’s drilling fleet back to work – almost double what it was two years ago at the same time.