A car is refuelled at a gas station in Washington, DC ( AFP / Stefani Reynolds)

Posts overstate gasoline prices in Canada

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

Social media posts claim Canadians were paying $9 a gallon for gasoline in June 2022. While the posts do not specify if the cost is calculated in US or Canadian dollars, in either currency, on average, fuel prices were less than that.

"Hey @TuckerCarlson, Gas in Canada is $9 a gallon, where no one named Joe Biden is President," claims a June 11, 2022 tweet aimed at the Fox News host who has blamed the US president for record prices at the pump. It was posted by a user in the US state of California on the same day that the average price of premium gasoline surpassed $5 a gallon for the first time in the United States, according to the American Automobile Association.

Screenshot taken on June 21, 2022 of a tweet

Posts with similar claims about Canada's fuel costs aiming to defend the US president can be found on Facebook and Instagram

The posts do not specify if they are referencing prices in Canadian or US dollars, but despite record prices in Canada, gasoline is not averaging Can$9 or $9 per gallon.

According to data from the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), the average cost of gas in Canada topped out at Can$2.097 per liter or Can$7.938 per gallon in June 2022 (based on a calculation of 3.78541 liters per gallon). A Canadian dollar currently converts to 77 cents in the US, making the average price in Canada $6.15 per gallon.

Suzanne Gray, a senior research analyst at Kalibrate, said her analysis showed a slightly higher average price.

"For the month of June, our Daily Pump Price Survey shows the average Canadian pump price to be 210.3 cents per liter in Canadian dollars (June 1- June 21). This converts to $6.23 US dollars per gallon," she told AFP.

Canada's national average is influenced by Alberta, where the provincial government suspended its 13-cent gas tax on April 1. According to CAA, the average price in the province topped out at Can$1.906 per liter or Can$7.215 per gallon on June 12.

Prices did climb as high as Can$2.269 per liter or Can$8.589 per gallon on June 7 in British Columbia, according to CAA, but still below Can$9.

Gray said both the US and Canadian West Coast can face higher prices because "the region consumes more petroleum products than are produced in the area" and the geographic isolation caused by the Rocky Mountains leaves it vulnerable to price spikes over disruptions to supply. She also said prices have been influenced by a reduction in refining capacity in the US West Coast. 

Ian Jack, vice president of public affairs for the CAA, said that gas in Canada can be more expensive than in the US because of "sparser population density, and higher taxes." But he said that prices in Canada rose this year for the same reasons as in other countries: "War in Ukraine and the resulting supply chain disruptions and speculation."

On June 22, Biden said he would ask Congress to suspend the federal gas tax in the US for three months, a move that would save consumers 18 cents per gallon.

Canada's federal government has not yet moved to implement a gas tax holiday, but Alberta says it will not reinstate its levy as long as the global benchmark price for oil is above $90 a barrel. Newfoundland and Labrador also temporarily cut its gas tax by 7 cents, while Ontario plans to lower its provincial tax starting July 1

AFP has debunked other misleading claims about rising fuel prices and the price of gasoline outside the US.

June 22, 2022 Updated to remove extraneous words in second sentence.