With Metro Vancouver gas prices now hovering around $1.80 per litre, we’re reminiscing about the last time it was relatively cheap to fill up the tank.
Turns out, it wasn’t that long ago.
Remember early in the pandemic when we were mostly shut-in at home with nowhere to go? Only essential workers were driving to work, and empty roads were paired with dirt-cheap gas prices.
In March 2020, gas fell below $1 per litre for the first time since 2003.
Patrick DeHaan, vice president of media relations with GasBuddy.com, told Daily Hive at the time that the COVID-19 pandemic initially sent gas prices crashing down.
“Back in January, coronavirus started to affect China first. We saw them start to lock down areas of their country, flights started to be cancelled, China started to lock people into cities, and schools, businesses, even Apple shut down in China,” he said.
These actions contributed to “a huge reduction in oil demand in China, and of course, it didn’t stop there. Now we’re talking about the virus almost worldwide.”
When the prices first started falling, it got the attention of OPEC, “who started discussing what they could do to stop this,” DeHaan furthered. Saudi Arabia-led OPEC invited Russia to talk with them, but “it didn’t work out so well.”
In the end, said DeHaan, Russia and Saudi Arabia “had a bit of a falling out, and that caused both countries to say, ‘Hey, forget it, we’re going to pump as much oil as we can,’ and that accelerated the downward move.”
As lockdowns started lifting and people moved around more, oil and gas prices rebounded.
We never thought we’d look back longingly at the early pandemic, but in terms of filling the tank, it was certainly cheaper.