Sept. 12, 2008
EDITOR'S NOTE: Energy Minister Jack Keir has released the following statement:
Gasoline prices have risen throughout North America today, as reported extensively in the news media. Prices in Ontario, an unregulated market, have risen by as much as 13 cents overnight. Because of our price regulation, New Brunswickers did not experience this rapid spike this morning. Regulation provides a measure of predictability, and has done so today.
Hurricane Ike is affecting oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. There are also a large number of oil refineries along the Gulf Coast which have scaled down operations as a result of Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike. This disruption has a ripple effect at the gas pumps across North America.
Today's market spike in Ontario and elsewhere is a clear reaction to the anticipated short-term decline in the supply of gasoline and other refined petroleum products, even as declining crude oil prices have not been seriously affected.
This shows the volatility of the gasoline market. It is also an indication that other factors, such as severe weather conditions, can affect the price that New Brunswickers pay.
Today in New Brunswick we are paying the lowest gasoline price in the country. Although our petroleum pricing regulation is working effectively to reduce price volatility, climatic conditions such as Hurricane Ike create market volatility over which we have a certain degree of control, but which we are not able to suppress entirely.
The Energy and Utilities Board may be forced to make price adjustments. It is required to do so when the price of gasoline in New York Harbour sees a daily increase of 8 cents or more per litre. This is called the interrupter clause.
For further information on the administration of the maximum price of gasoline in New Brunswick, contact the Energy Utilities Board.