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Gas, food prices on the rise in Sask.

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REGINA -

The cost to fill up your tank and your grocery cart is on the rise in Saskatchewan.

In Regina, gas prices jumped approximately seven cents overnight, to an average of $1.382 per litre. In Saskatoon, the average gas price is $1.36 per litre.

According GasBuddy, the rise in the cost of gas is due to swelling oil prices over the past week and a half. The price of oil is now at it’s highest level in seven years.

“There’s been kind of a looming energy crunch that’s been developing globally. And much of it is probably due to COVID-19,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

DeHann said disruptions in supply chains have lead to a drop in China’s coal inventory, and a natural gas shortage in Europe has driven the price of that commodity higher.

“And all of that has sent another form of energy, crude oil — which can be used to back up both of those — (to) accelerating prices as well,” he said.

Meanwhile, the price of food is also going up. According to the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, meat, dairy and other groceries have increased in recent months. On average, food is five per cent more expensive than it was this time last year.

“The ongoing pandemic has continued to disrupt shipping patterns from trading partners. And not just commodities, but things like packaging,” said Janet Music, the Agri-Food Analytics Lab research program coordinator.

Music said adverse weather events have also impacted prices.

“Droughts in the prairies cause farmers to shrink their herds a bit, which has resulted in really high meat prices at the meat counter. Some cuts are 30 per cent more,” she said. “Wildfires in California disrupts where produce comes from.”

The packaging shortage means the ‘centre of the store’ items will also cost consumers more.

“Cookies and oils and noodles, those things have really increased in price,” said Music. “They’re staples and generally speaking, we can’t cook without them.”

According to Music, the end of the pandemic should help the ‘bottlenecking’ at shipping ports. However, she said it’s hard to predict when, or even if, adverse weather events will stop.

“I think it’s safe to say that five per cent is going to be normal right up through Christmas,” she said.

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