Luckily, he wasn't on a highway or a busy street, otherwise things could have been a lot worse.
The man slowly drifted to sleep while driving his car, until he came to complete stop right in the middle of the road. Then some very enthusiastic individuals found him, and decided to wake up by laughing at him loudly.
I'm just curious though, is his foot just weighing down on the brake pedal, or did he actually take the time to put the car in "park" because he thought he was in his own driveway?
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.