Ottawa drivers say gas prices causing them to cancel summer plans

In his small Mazda sedan, Jean-Marie Gatsinzi didn’t expect fuel costs to be an area he would have to cut back.

“I used to fill with the tank with $40 a week, now just five, ten. I cannot fill [my car] anymore,” Gatsinzi said.

As record gas prices in the capital continue, he’s far from alone.

“It’s a big expense, I average probably $350 to $400 a week in gas,” Charles Gauthier, a contractor who drives a Ford pickup said.

Gauthier says he uses the truck for work, but can’t afford to do anything more with it.

“On weekends I don’t do anything anymore. It’s basically, the vehicle gets parked and that’s it because it’s not affordable,” Gauthier said.

A new study conducted by Leger found nearly two-thirds of Canadians say the cost of gas means they’ll cancel or limit summer road trips this year.

“[I’m] just lowering the amount of driving altogether. Just going as little as possible from A to B and then zipping back home,” Ottawa resident Amin said.

“I cannot go to Montreal, I can’t go to Toronto, no way,” Gatsinzi added.

In Greely, at Poplar Grove Campground, owner Diane McEvoy has already noticed a change in clientele. Longer stays are replacing weekend trips, and the campers are more local.

“Nowadays it’s come park for a week, park for two weeks, a month, visit all the area as opposed to moving the trailer and going,” McEvoy said.

“It’s about the gas and about how much money you have to spend to go and then that takes away from what you want to do,” she added.

Ottawa delivery company Trexity says they were forced to add a fuel charge nearly two months ago, with the money going to support their drivers.

“We actually monitor the gas prices on a daily basis and our fuel surcharge is dynamic. Every day our surcharge is different based on what the baseline price is for Ottawa gas prices,” Alok Ahuja, CEO & Co-Founder of Trexity said.

While others have struggled with the rising costs of fuel, Ahuja says it’s actually been a boon for business, as more retailers are choosing to forgo their own delivery systems.

“Merchants have realized it makes more sense to use our service than to put fuel in their actual vehicles and try to do their own deliveries. They’re just parking their cars permanently and handing it over to us, it’s just more cost effective,” he said.

Fuel experts predict gas will continue to rise, potentially by 10 cents per liter in the next two weeks.

“We think it will peak around June, end of June, but who knows? If the driving season is strong it might go strong at the end of August,” Vijay Muralidharan, Director of Consulting for Kalibrate said.

“We think there will be a slight reprieve in July and August, but we think there will be higher pricing in the coming weeks,” he added.

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