How do Torontonians feel about paying $2 a liter at the pump? We went to a gas station to find out


‘Only the rich can afford to drive’: How do Torontonians feel about paying $2 a liter at the pump? We went to a gas station to find out

During the weekend, gas prices in Ontario hit a whopping 200.2 cents per litre, compared to 126.2 cents per liter at the same date last year. It’s a sad sight for all motorists, who are probably wondering if it might finally be time to buy an electric vehicle. We went to a gas station near High Park to see how Torontonians are reacting to skyrocketing prices at the pump.

Danhyal Razz, Uber Eats driver and Toyota employee

What are you driving?
A Lexus IS 300. I’ve had it for almost a year.

How much do you spend on gasoline per week?
I have to go get the supreme gas, and I usually fill it up twice a week. A full tank costs around $130. So $260 a week right now. It’s a lot for me.

Where do you usually drive?
I mostly drive for work. But today, I prefer to take public transport because of the price of gasoline, unless it’s nearby. I drove to Wasaga Beach yesterday and used up almost $130 worth of gas. I often drive on weekend trips, and it adds up.

Have you changed your driving habits?
Yeah, I’m switching cars now. I have another car, an old Hyundai. I like to take it when I’m driving somewhere nearby because it runs on regular gasoline and it’s cheaper. I also use it when doing deliveries for Uber Eats. I don’t think I would make a lot of money doing Uber Eats with the Lexus.

Do you think gasoline prices will continue to rise in the near future?
I think prices will continue to rise. I am from Sri Lanka, where prices have risen. At home and here, gas prices are similar, so I think that’s the trend.

Are you planning to switch to electric vehicles?
Yeah, I’d rather buy electric next time. I’m out of gas. I am literally exhausted.

Steve Symon; Cassandra Symons, lawn mower operator at Helpful Handy Company

What are you driving?
Cassandra: For our company, it’s a Ford F-150 EcoBoost. It travels about 700 kilometers on a single tank.

How much do you spend on gasoline?
Cassandra: We spend about $2,000 a month. This F-150 costs $300 a week in gas. We have a smaller four-cylinder truck that burns about $100 worth of gas every week. And then the lawn equipment also runs on gas. I did this job for two years on and off, using the mowers, and I’ve never seen gas prices so high.

Are you changing your driving habits?
Cassandra: We mow residential lawns all over Toronto and Mississauga, so we have no choice but to continue working as usual and pay the extra costs. We filled it up on Friday, and it’s already at half a tank, and we only use it for work.

I think people are going to take the bus a lot. When I’m not working, I’m not driving, and that saves money. I carpool with family members, sometimes I take the TTC, and I take Uber a lot.

Will prices continue to rise?
Cassandra: Probably, because of the war in Ukraine. It’s unfortunate. You pay a toll for the 407, plus car insurance in addition to gas. Increasingly, only the wealthy can afford to drive.

Are you considering going electric?
Cassandra: Slowly but surely, but there are still glitches with electric vehicles. I wouldn’t be comfortable driving one now, but I think that’s where the company is going.

Gary Waite, retired professional squash player

What are you driving?
A GMC Canyon, and it’s not too bad on the gas. I bought this truck because it was more efficient than a Ford-150. I’m not a car guy. I don’t need anything puffy.

Have you seen gasoline prices so high?
Never. I remember when it was less than a dollar, now it’s over two dollars. It’s crazy. I’ve never really been concerned about gas prices – I always thought it was a bit petty to worry about a dollar here or a dollar there. But now it is so expensive that it is a big problem.

How much do you spend on gasoline?
I just started paying attention, partly out of curiosity, partly out of annoyance. I probably put $20 worth of gas in the tank every day now.

Where do you usually drive?
I mainly go to town to run errands. I have five children and I travel quite a bit with them to school and activities. We also live in an old house, so I’m constantly thinking about picking things up for my landscaping projects. But I’m going to Sarnia today, so it’s going to hurt a little.

Are you changing your driving habits?
I’m a bit of an outdoors guy, and I’m on my bike a lot anyway, so that pushes me even further in that direction. In a way, that’s good. But for the first time, gas prices are affecting my decisions about how I get around. They are on my radar.

Are you considering going electric?
There’s always that option, but I’m more inclined to the no-vehicle option. My family only had one vehicle for a while, and it worked, but I started doing odd jobs at our house and other properties, and it was good to have a car to move.

Mark Baskerville, owner of Remarkable Building Group (RBG)

What are you driving?
GMC Sierra. I’ve had it for two years.

How much do you spend on gasoline?
I spend about one tank a week, which equates to about $225.

Where do you usually drive?
I drive from job site to job site, almost exclusively within the city, but I have a few projects in Milton, so I make the trip there a few times a week.

Are you changing your driving habits?
I’m definitely more aware of it, especially in the last part. I use Uber and the subway system, but that limits where you can actually go. For work, I really have no choice but to use my truck.

Are these gas prices making you change the way you run your business?
When it comes to big projects, it affects him. You start thinking about the costs of moving dirt around in the big machines, things like storing more dirt in certain places to avoid moving.

Will prices continue to rise?
I think they’re probably at their worst, but I don’t think gas prices are going to drop that much. They will probably just trend up. I think that’s the case for just about every consumer product we’ll have in the next few years.

Are you considering going electric?
Lately, yeah. When I bought this vehicle, I took it to the next level, and now it makes me think, Oh my god, why did I get involved in this? But I’m in now. I’d love to get the electric versions of the Ford or this truck eventually, but it’s a big and expensive commitment.

Matthew Wells, Head of Software Company at GE Digital

What are you driving?

What do you think of the price of gasoline?
They are terrible. I don’t remember seeing them that high.

How much do you spend on gasoline?
My family goes through one tank a week and the cost to fill a full tank is $140. Sometimes I fill with higher octane, but even if I fill with regular, it’s way more than $100.

Are you changing your driving habits?
I work from home so can’t really complain. I only use the car to drive the kids to hockey or to the cabin. It doesn’t make me change my habits that much, but now I don’t make trips for nothing. It plays more on my mind.

Do you think they will continue to increase?
Well, as long as the war against Ukraine continues and Russia remains angry, I don’t see it getting any better.


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