Consumer group predicts big jump in gas price

Colin MacLean colin.maclean@tc.tc
Published on October 2, 2012
Sean Russell, owner of Russell’s Land Design in Foxtrap, Conception Bay South, fills his business pickup truck and a gasoline container at the North Atlantic Petroleum Orange Store on the corner of Brookfield Road and Commonwealth Avenue in Mount Pearl Monday afternoon. George Murphy of the Consumers Group For Fair Gasoline Prices has predicted this Thursday could see gas go up by close to 11 cents a litre. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

The last time George Murphy saw indications like this in his gas price prediction formula, hurricane Katrina was about to hit the southern United States. That was in 2005.  

Murphy is predicting that unless something drastic changes today or Wednesday, gas will go up by almost 11 cents a litre Wednesday at midnight.

“I pray to God, hope my numbers are wrong on this one. If they are, fine and dandy. If they’re not, well then ... we could end up with a substantial increase,” he told The Telegram.

A longtime cabbie turned MHA, Murphy is also well known for being a spokesman for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices. That group regularly predicts changes in the price of gas before they are officially announced.

Their latest numbers have Murphy worried. After all, the last time Newfoundland and Labrador had an increase of more than 10 cents a litre for gas, there was a deadly storm causing havoc in the Gulf of Mexico.

The reason for this huge increase is still caused by a storm, said Murphy, just not the kind you’d expect.

Buyers all crowded into the gasoline futures market at the same time last week. Murphy’s research points the cause at buyers over leveraging themselves and falling short on their predictions.

That caused a frenzy in the market and resulted in gas prices, by the gallon, swinging wildly in the U.S. late last week.

When you feed all those numbers into his formula, you get bad news for drivers in this province, said Murphy.

But he also offered a caveat of hope.

Anything can happen in two days, he said.

“We could end up having a miracle. But either way it looks like there is going to be some kind of an increase there on Thursday for consumers. It’s a bit sickening,” he said.

cmaclean@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelegramMacLean