Gas Gouge

CCPA Research Associate Hugh Mackenzie has done an analysis of current gas prices (using our online Gas Price Gouge Meter) and finds:

Although the average price in these major centres across Canada is roughly the same today as it was two weeks ago – $1.33 on April 29; $1.35 today – the industry’s failure to pass on the savings resulting from crude oil price changes and exchange rate moves is reflected in the fact that the average excess profit has jumped from 14 cents per litre on April 29 to 25 cents per litre on May 12 [based on normal production costs, today’s crude oil price, today’s exchange rates, and taking into account all taxes].

The biggest gaps – in the 30 cent per litre range – are in Montreal and in western Canada; the smallest gaps – in the 15-20 cent range – are in Ottawa and in BC outside the lower mainland.

To put these numbers in perspective, one cent per litre across Canada generates excess profits at a rate of $1 million per day. So an excess profit of 25 cents per litre is generating $25 million in excess profit every day – $9.125 billion a year.

Click here to read the full analysis, which includes a table summarizing the results of Hugh’s calculations in major urban areas across Canada, comparing the figures for April 29 with today’s numbers.

Click here to visit our Gas Price Gouge Meter.


  1. well, this does not bother me because corporations do this with probably everything
    what DOES bother me is that Canadians COMPLAIN about THIS yet ignore how much their driving habits cost us….
    about $200 BILLION in social costs
    Where do you think all that toxic exhaust goes? Add on all the horrid noise day and night : I can’t even garden for more than 10 minutes now without being overwhelmed by noise and fumes
    and then all the injuries, deaths, fast food, drive in eerythings and parking lot after parking lot and garages big enough to solve our housing problems
    these autos are our WMDs

  2. I have to agree with Myna … While it’s essential for most of us to have automobiles in North America, we can choose to get rid of the big honkin’ trucks and SUV’s.
    We should also boycott auto-makers and not fork over one more penny for a vehicle until all of them have made a commitment to producing affordable electric, hybrid or solar-powered vehicles .
    I will be happy when gas reaches $4 a litre – then we might have the incentive to force auto-makers to change.

  3. Thanks for your comments, Myna and Vera. We agree that we should all be driving less. The problem isn’t higher gas prices per se but oil company gouging.

    You might be interested in this op-ed Hugh wrote a few years ago, which makes the point that “we’d be much better off if higher prices were captured by the public in the form of higher taxes, and then put back to use in the public interest – investing in public transit, energy conservation initiatives, and providing tax credits to the low-income households that can least afford to pay for higher gas prices. Fighting climate change is going to be tough, and there’s no point simply sending windfall profits to the very corporations that have spent the better part of the last decade denying the need for action.”

    The whole op-ed can be found at:

  4. Of course the savings aren’t being passed on. Gas companies have been playing this game for years for one reason and one reason only…no matter how high they push the prices, Canadians refuse to curb the amount of driving they do. They whine about it, as this article points well and continue to ignore all the other options they have. I’ll save my sympathy for them and continue to use my electric scooter as much as possible.

  5. I agree with what is been written above. Unfortunately, it may not change until the prices go high enough. People will continue to drive their guzzlers until it gets too expensive. Only then changes in the behaviours and infrastructure will be made. As long as masses will demand it, the oil and gas industry will be there to take advantage of it. Do not count on the governments to initiate the changes, nothing unpopular will ever comes from them.

  6. Please fix the Gas Gouge site! It has lost the link to crude oil costs.

    I notice that you seem to use the world price, ignoring that often, in Edmonton, they can’t get world price for crude. Recently (last 2 months) crude, especially synthetic and dilbit but even sweet conventional , have been selling at a considerable discount to world prices in Edmonton. This has resulted in gas costs apparently below cost, according to your Gas Gouge meter. Now however, that has all changed, and it is back to way-high gas prices. When Northern Gateway and Keystone pipelines go through, this situation will never happen again.

  7. REally, this gas gouge is small potatoes as far as the oil companies are concerned. A few pennies extra on a liter of gas, as much as it hurts us, is nothing compared to how much they make just hauling crude out of the ground and selling it raw. For example, Syncrude’s cost of production of synthetic crude, one of the higher cost sources, is under $30/bbl, and they sell it for $80 – 90/bbl. Other producers are higher, but conventional sources are usually much lower, and still account for much of the production. This is why the oil companies want to build Keystone and Northern Gateway to sell the raw crude, rather than spend a similar amount on refineries: they make way more money selling crude than making fuel.

  8. Ever checked out the price of fuel in Venezuela, $0.05 per litre. All we have here are greedy governments and even greedier fuel companies.

  9. Why is the gasgouge site never working any more. I get a message it’s down for maintenance. I would like to see a comparison to US prices feature added too. We pay .50 cents a liter more than they do on average.


  11. Is the gasgouge site ever going to be up and operating again. It has been down for months now with a promise it is being repaired. I have asked about it numerous times.

    1. Hi Lynn,
      Unfortunately the researcher responsible for our calculations has been unavailable to update the site. As it stands, the site will not be available in the foreseeable future. I apologize for the inconvenience.

      Emily Turk
      Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives

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