While Manitoba currently has some of the cheapest gasoline prices in the country thanks to the current provincial gas tax holiday, how will it fare this summer? The current tax holiday in the province was originally scheduled to end June 30th but it was recently extended to September 30th. That holiday is saving consumers about 14 cents a liter at the pumps.

Canadians for Affordable Energy President Dan McTeague says the price outlook for Manitoba is hard to pinpoint due to several factors that must be considered. 

"There is probably no clear indication of where things should go right now and it depends, really, where you fall in terms of how energy prices are determined. You really don't get a good sense of what the future holds. On the positive side of prices going up, you have this summertime demand, which is around the corner, and starts in Canada on the May 24 weekend; the United States on the following weekend, May 27th. That's with the Memorial Day long weekend." 

McTeague says there are tensions in the Middle East at the moment, which could see prices escalate, as many experts believe will happen. 

"You have, of course, the great unknowns which begin with warmer temperatures, and that's meteorological effects such as hurricanes in the US Gulf Coast, or any other type of disruption. That's on the positive side of the ledger. You also have to look at the value of the Canadian dollar. It's been weak of late. The weaker it gets, the more it costs for us to go from point A to point B. So, several critical issues often get overlooked because, on the other side of the equation, things are likely to maintain downward pressure on prices, even though it is summertime. That's concerns that the longer the interest rates remain high, especially in the United States, that will put some pressure on demand that the prices may be, for many, already too high."

He notes this pressure from interest rates isn't helped by feelings that there isn't the kind of demand that there is or should be expected to be. McTeague notes some believe that the adoption of electric vehicles may very well keep demand for fuel down. He says that's a possibility. However, with just one, two, or three per cent of an influence, it's not apparent just yet. 

"Then of course, there is the overall geopolitical issue in the other sense, that there's nothing to see: Everything's fine. The world's just going about its way, so we don't need to hear rallying prices. All of those factors can really make longer-term predictions challenging and in my case, of course, it's probably easier that I try to guess a few numbers in the upcoming lottery than to try to figure out where prices are going to be in a month and a half." 

Stay posted tomorrow for a story on Canada and the Zero Emissions plan for 203o.