Gas prices in Montreal are the highest they've ever been.

Many stations are now changing $1.53/litre, 15 cents higher than they were charging on Monday.

That's leaving many drivers outraged, even those who drive subcompacts like James Itzkovits.

"The prices are crazy right now. It's a good thing I have a small car, but still to fill up this car used to be like $40, now it's like $60 or $70," said Itzkovits.

However the high prices are not universal, and stations selling for less, such as the Costco at Notre Dame St. & Atwater St., are seeing long lineups of drivers waiting to tank up.

Chris Diraddo monitors gas prices with his website Essence Montreal.

"Since I started keeping track in 2005, the highest price on record is 151.4. That was in June 2008," said Diraddo.

At that time the price of crude oil was about $150/barrel. Currently the price of oil is much less, around $97/barrel.

Other analysts say the price of crude is just one part of the equation. The price to refine oil into gasoline has also increased, and The Quebec Association Of Independent Petroleum Marketers says a spike in price of refining oil means retailers have no choice but to raise the price at the pumps.

"At $1.39, the retailers were losing money. They were losing a little bit less than 3 cents (per litre). So that's a lot. They were losing a lot of money," said Sonia Marcotte of AQUIP.

Marcotte also points out that while western Canada base prices on the West Texan Index, Quebec providers import gasoline from locations that use the Brent Crude index.

Brent prices are currently $115/barrel.

The Automobile Protection Association calls the increase "staggering" and says it's time for more stable pricing.

"If you want a more sane pricing model, perhaps one of the solutions might be to put in a floor," suggested George Iny. "To say you can't go below your cost for a long period of time. But then you cannot ask for more than a certain maximum."

Cedric Essiminy of the Canadian Automobile Association says the fair market price for gasoline in Montreal is $1.49/L.

"It's not because the price of gasoline is going up that retailers have an excuse to take more than they should take," said Essiminy.



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