Dan McTeague, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, said gas shortages could become a reality for many parts of the United States next week.
According to gasbuddy.com, the average retail price of gasoline in Ontario has risen from 107.5 cents per litre on August 28 to 120.9 cents per litre on September 1.
He said the only thing that could drive up prices in Western Canada would be if the entire eastern United States seaboard is hit with severe gas shortages and begins siphoning away gas from the U.S. Midwest market. "To put that into perspective, that's about 10 to 20 per cent more than all the gas needs in Canada".
Across Canada, gas prices are up an average of 9.5 cents compared with last week.
McTeague said service stations in Montreal could take advantage of higher wholesale prices to raise prices and increase profit margins.
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While Canada isn't expected to experience the same supply problems, Americans could look north for more gasoline, he said. "There's a cascading effect where wholesalers in the east will be looking for spare barrels anywhere they can get them, and they may go as far as Chicago".
"It's likely we will see another 14-cent increase between now and next Thursday", McTeague said Friday morning. Now there is no indication the refineries have been damaged by the hurricane or resulting flooding.
Drivers can expect to see much higher prices at the pumps this Labour Day weekend.
"Some of the refineries in Canada are going through fall maintenance, and that means we just don't have any capacity". A better picture of impact on overall supply will start to emerge early next week, although oil futures contracts are already pointing to a price decline of about 2 cents starting on Sunday, he said.
In Vancouver, McKnight predicted little change on the weekend but McTeague says he expects a five-cent jump on Saturday.