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DANIEL SUCAR
The 1019 Report

Local Journalism Initiative

As COVID-19 restrictions lift across the country, and countries attempt to further tighten sanctions against Russia as it continues to wage war in Ukraine, the average price of a litre of regular gas in Quebec hit a record high of $1.96 last week.

This has left many drivers in Vaudreuil-Soulanges thinking twice about filling up at the pump.

“It’s all very jarring,” noted Kim Morrisson, a Pincourt resident who works from home, but feels the burn whenever she heads out to run errands. “When people couldn’t leave their homes because of the pandemic, prices were low. Now, they’re astronomical.”

“Gas is something I think about every single day now,” added Dion Joseph, who is the principal at the senior campus of Westwood High School in Hudson. “It’s always on my mind.”

Joseph lives in the West Island. He travels about 100 kilometres each weekday to get to and from the school. During his last visit to the Costco gas station in Vaudreuil-Dorion, it cost him around $85 to fill his tank – and that was when it was still a quarter full.

Should prices rise to $2, he says he has already approached other West Island teachers at the school about launching a carpool initiative, but admits the logistics could prove complicated should any school-related emergencies arise.

“Carpooling would definitely alter my morning routine, and I’m not sure how it’ll work if I have meeting elsewhere,” he said. “But I’ll do whatever I can if it means saving money at the pump.”

Students are also feeling the burn. Melanie Szubiak, a student enrolled in the social sciences program at John Abbott College in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, says her daily commute to school from her home in Vaudreuil-Dorion costs her around $50 a week in gas.

She hopes the college realizes the effect rising prices have on her budget, and that gas price discounts are made available to students. At the very least, she suggests that the school gets rid of the $6 fee she must pay each day for a parking pass.

“It’s getting to the point where I almost can’t afford to attend my classes any more,” Szubiak said. “It’s just not financially feasible.”

According to experts, prices aren’t expected to ease any time soon.

Moshe Lander, a senior lecturer in economics at Montreal’s Concordia University, predicts prices will continue to fluctuate around $1.75 to $2 per litre for the foreseeable future. However, he admits the situation in Ukraine can make it difficult to predict anything with certainty.

“Each wave of news in Russia and the Ukraine will guide the ups and downs of gas prices,” he explained. “If you hear sanction are being applied in Russia, gas prices go up. If you hear things are calming down, prices will go down.”

However, he does see a light at the end of the tunnel, once pandemic-era supply-chain issues get resolved and the overall inflation gripping the economy eases. For now, his best advice to drivers is to “take a deep breath, accept the circumstances, and wait the madness out.”

“Barring any kind of catastrophe, this is all going to be looking normal in 2023,” he said.

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