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Average gasoline prices in Edmonton increased by about five cents per liter on Friday, and a forecaster expects it to jump by another nickel to nearly $1.70 per liter on Saturday.

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According to Natural Resources Canada, the average retail fuel price in Edmonton on Thursday increased by 5.2 cents per liter since Thursday (and 16.9 cents per liter since May 3) to hit 164.8 cents per liter on Friday.

Price prediction website Gas Wizard expects the cost of regular gas in the city to reach 169.9 cents per liter on Saturday.

Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy and manager of the Gas Wizard site, flagged demand as a contributing factor as jurisdictions lift public health restrictions created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The rush to get back to normal means a lot more demand,” he said, noting that the demand for gasoline typically tends to rise with the summer driving season.

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Gas Buddy, a website and app that tracks prices across Canada and the US, reported individual service stations charging between 151.9 cents per liter to 168.9 cents per liter Friday evening.

The average retail price in Calgary also jumped from 163.7 cents per liter to 171 cents per liter between Thursday and Friday according to Natural Resources Canada. Gas Wizard expects it to reach 171.9 cents per liter on Saturday.

The pinch at the pumps has led to price increases for businesses such as grocers and brewers.

Blair Berdusco, executive director for the Alberta Small Brewers Association, said costs have jumped for everything from boxes to labels to brewing, and in the last year inputs have increased 15 and 30 per cent.

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Still, she noted, those costs have been largely consumed by the craft breweries in an effort to stay competitive and affordable. For newcomers to the sector, it’s said easier than done, and it is likely only a matter of time before the cost of a six-pack will also increase further.

“I think it’s a fair assumption that at some point there is a tilt that will force the hand of any business,” Berdusco said. “We’re optimistic it won’t happen but you can only go so far until you’re forced to make that decision.”

— With files from Josh Aldrich

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