In collaboration with MétéoMédia, the association has determined realistic dates to prepare your car for the cold season in each region of the province. According to the recommendations, you should do so as soon as the temperature drops below 7 C for a few consecutive days. It's the temperature, not just the snow, that significantly reduces tire traction.
And since the cold weather makes some regions shiver before others as soon as fall arrives, here are the dates, on average, "that should be respected to install your winter tires," according to CAA-Quebec.
Sept-Îles: October 20
Val-d'Or and Saguenay: October 25
Rimouski and Gaspé: October 30
Quebec City, Gatineau and Sherbrooke: November 5
Montreal: November 10
It's advisable to make an appointment now because the tire season is shaping up to be quite busy and intense. According to experts, stock shortages for some popular brands are expected and the lack of workers in garages and mechanical shops could delay your appointment.
"The watchword is foresight. Waiting is taking the risk of being told that there is no room for one, two or even three weeks," said Pierre-Serge Labbé, vice-president of automotive services at CAA-Quebec, in a statement shared with MTL Blog.
So why is this happening to us? Have we collectively angered the gas gods who are making us suffer at the hands of their merciless wrath?
We asked Moshe Lander, a senior lecturer in economics at Concordia University, and turns out it's not that. He explained what's actually happening in basic terms that are easy to understand.
Supply & Demand
The reason gas is expensive right now, according to Lander, is as simple as the concept of supply and demand.
"What would happen if you were to decrease the amount of supply available of any product? Imagine that Doritos bags go disappearing off the shelves [...] What inevitably happens? The price of Doritos [...] they go up," he said.
"If you imagine at the same time that there's a whole bunch of consumers that start showing up that want to buy Doritos, prices are going to go up. And so if you take those two components and put them together, prices go way up [...] That's all that's going on in the gas market right now."
He explained that as lockdowns lift and people get back to their pre-pandemic routines — including travelling, flying and driving more frequently — this increases demand for petrol as well as the byproducts that go into it, which are also used to make jet fuel.
At the same time, he said, there are supply constraints, such as oil pipelines not being built around the world and global supply chain disruptions, which he called the "perfect confluence of factors."
Lander told MTL Blog that we should also consider our own perception of gas prices when evaluating them.
"Gasoline prices go up and down naturally," he said.
"The fact is that they're kind of returning to levels that are a little higher than they were 18 months ago, but they're not that far off [...] Over the last 12 months where nobody's been going anywhere, we've been used to seeing the prices down at around $1 a litre. Now that they're returning to $1.40, It's like, [...] 'Wow, that happened suddenly,' and I think that's part of the problem, too."
The New Baseline
If you've been pushing your car to its limits in the hopes that gas prices will come down soon, you may want to think again.
Lander said he expects recent prices to become "the new baseline."
According to Lander, if Canada's new Liberal government wants to successfully uphold its environmental promises, the price of gasoline will have to increase substantially.
"I think if we're upset right now at $1.45 a litre... just wait," he said. "That's going to be a nice nostalgic memory."
This article’s right-hand cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
Have you been putting your car's gas mileage to the test, avoiding refuelling in the hopes that prices will come down? If Montreal gas prices have turned your head lately, it's for good reason.
According to CAA-Québec, Montreal gas prices have been hovering near the highest prices they've recorded in recent history.
"While we don't offer full data over time (we are not gas sellers, we only provide observations), we can say that the highest price recorded in Montreal over time was around 151.4 cents per litre," CAA-Québec's interim director of public affairs, Nicolas Ryan, told MTL Blog in an email.
"This was seen in June 2008, September 2012 and April 2014. And we're seeing similar numbers now as well."
CAA-Québec's "Gasoline Watch" index gives motorists a realistic price they can expect to pay at the pump on any given day based on the daily acquisition cost and a 52-week average retail margin, including taxes.
On October 14, the realistic price for Montreal was set at 151.2 cents per litre. The average price at the pump on the same day was 149.3 cents per litre.
In fact, last week, ahead of Thanksgiving, Global News reported that while the average price of gas in Montreal was around $1.48 per litre, some stations were pricing petrol as high as $1.50 per litre, or 150 cents.
But Ryan emphasized that the high cost of gas is not because gas station margins are too high. Rather, he said, it's a global trend occurring because "acquisition costs are higher."
"We'll always use our different tribunes to say out loud if ever we believe margins are too high, which is not currently the case across the province," he said.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
Now that Labour Day's come and gone, and nights are beginning to feel cooler, many Montrealers have weather on the brain: Will we have a long summer? Will winter come early? The Weather Network aka MétéoMédia just released its three-month long-range fall forecast for Quebec and, let's just say, there's good news and bad news.
The good news is that The Weather Network predicts "extended periods of fair weather and warmer than normal temperatures" during late September and throughout October.
"This will provide excellent opportunities to get out and enjoy the fall foliage," according to meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham.
The bad news is the transition to winter is expected to happen rapidly with winter weather coming earlier than usual, compared to what we've seen over the past 20 years.
"We have become accustomed to very mild Decembers, but this year should bring more typical amounts of winter weather during the weeks leading up to and through the holidays," said Dr. Gillham.
"A pattern change during late fall is expected to bring an earlier arrival to winter weather, and more winter weather leading up to the holidays than we have often seen over the past 20 years."