TORONTO - Higher gas prices have been jolting motorists in major Canadian centres and the shock has been particularly acute in Montreal, where prices have instantly soared by as much as 13 cents a litre.
That puts the price of regular in the Montreal area at just under $1.53 a litre, an increase of almost 20 cents since the start of summer.
Gasoline prices across southern and eastern Ontario also rose by about 3.4 cents at midnight, according to the website tomorrowsgaspricestoday.com. That puts the price of regular in the greater Toronto area at just under $1.37 a litre, and $1.34 in the Ottawa area.
At one downtown Montreal gas station, there were fewer motorists than usual filling up their tanks Wednesday morning.
"We're being whacked," said Jared Lang, who had to pay $1.51 a litre to fill up.
"I don't even want to fill up my car. I put in maybe $10 to $15 at a time, hoping it goes down and I live with it."
Lang recalled that when he started driving more than 20 years ago, he remembers paying about 40 cents a litre and he quipped: "It's not like the minimum wage has gone up five times since then."
He also said that he tries not to drive as much as possible in order to save money.
Lindsay, who would only give her first name, also said she doesn't drive as much as she used to.
"There's politics around it, there's greed but personally all I can do is try and save myself," she said as she tanked up her subcompact fuel-efficient Honda Fit. "I drive a car which saves on gas, I bought it specifically for that and I don't drive when I don't need to."
Her last vehicle was a Honda Civic. She said her choice in cars wasn't just about saving money: "It's about the environment as well."
Gas price watcher Dan McTeague says he can't see a reason for the increase, other than a money grab, and his website calls the hike "absurd and unjustified."
The increase prompted many drivers in the Toronto area to fill up before midnight, causing lineups of up to 30 vehicles long at some service stations.
It was a similar situation in Montreal where motorists also waited to fill up — only in that city, stations were already selling gas anywhere from $1.37 to $1.43 a litre.