Ottawa gas prices: Lawn care getting costly

The cost of gas climbed past $2.08 a liter in the capital again Tuesday and the surging prices are hurting some seasonal businesses.

It last hit 208.9 cents per liter on Sunday, setting a record for the city.

Lawn FX Landscaping owner Joanne Oldak says it’s not so green on the business side of things.

“We went to fill up two trucks and the machines, I have six machines, so that was 500 bucks,” says Oldak, adding that’s enough fuel for two days of work, maintaining customers’ lawns all across the city. “We had to increase our rate a bit, but there are seniors who can’t cut their grass, people with knee injuries, people that just don’t have time to do it … and their salaries aren’t going up. We need to stay in business, but if people can’t afford it there is going to be no small businesses. I mean, something needs to be done.”

Gas prices are chopping away at profits, as well as pocket books as per liter prices set new records each week.

“They will continue to rise so long as the supply is too short for the demand,” says Roger McKnight, chief petroleum analyst with En-Pro International. He says while government should intervene to cap the tax, it’s not likely. “The higher the prices go, the less I hear complaints from the government. The HST is not a fixed amount in the price of the gas; it varies, it’s a percentage, so the higher the pump price goes, the more revenue goes to the provincial and federal government.”

Mcknight predicts that Wednesday’s fuel prices in Ottawa will reach $2.10 a liter, noting that the HST on that amount is $0.24.

“Governments in general are depending on demand destruction to take over to lower the prices; In other words, the prices get so high that people say, ‘The tail with it, I’m leaving my car in the driveway. I ain’t going anywhere,’” says McKnight. “But I think they are misreading human nature. This is Memorial Day weekend coming up in ten days and this is Victoria Day weekend next week. People are going to get on the road and they are going to see those prices, and they’re going to get very, very annoyed because they aren’t going down anytime soon trust me.”

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