Gas prices rise, but commuters still drive

A local resident pumps at the Ellesmere Road Esso.

Craig Deveau is unfazed by increasing gas prices and in fact thinks it might even be a good thing.

The 39-year-old local resident drives everywhere on the weekend, and to the Go Station for work throughout the week.

None of that is going to change just because gas has gone up a few cents.

“I think if they get higher it might make people a bit more conservative and stop wasting so much, so it might be a good thing in terms of greenhouse emissions,” said Deveau, putting air in his tires at the Petro Canada station on Morningside Avenue at Ellesmere Road.

“The green side of me thinks high prices aren’t a bad thing, but the consumer side of me feels the pain like everybody else.”

Gas was sitting at almost $1.12 a litre in Malvern as of Wednesday morning and its average price around Toronto was the highest since 2005. But Deveau says he probably won’t be making any changes to offset the increased cost unless prices hit $2 a litre.

“If you have to go somewhere, you have to go somewhere,” he says.
Joe Kim, another local resident, says high gas prices are not enough of an incentive for him to take public transportation. He drives everywhere, and is not about to let gas prices change his habit.

“I never take public transportation to work,” says Kim. “I like the convenience of having my own car, of not sitting beside people I don’t know, and the fact that I can operate at any speed I choose.”

But there are people who beg to differ.

Victor Chui has tried various alternatives to cut down on gas usage besides taking the TTC.

“I try to conserve by taking the highway as much as possible instead of having to stop at every light,” Chui says. “Even though I have an automatic car, instead of leaving my car on drive, I put it in neutral at a red light to conserve gas.”

The highest record of gas prices in Toronto was on Sept. 6, 2005, when gas prices rose to $1.29 per litre after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf of Mexico.
Spencer Knipping, oil adviser to the Ontario Ministry of Energy, says the current increase is the result of a combination of factors.

“The price of crude has risen quite sharply over the last couple of months, and that really has been largely driven by the decline in the U.S. dollar,” says Knipping. “There appears to be supply limitations.

“We’re sort of bumping up against available production capacity and this has also caused the price of oil to go up.”