Charge more because of their overhead costs

Charge more because of their overhead costs

"The thing about Fort McMurray is the cost of living is higher, so gas stations have to charge more because of their overhead costs," says Steve Kelly, a heavy-equipment operator with Suncor.

It's just in the past week that gas prices have dropped under a dollar per litre in the northern Alberta city, finally bringing at least a little relief to household budgets enjoyed by the rest of the country – an average price of 92.8 cents per litre across the country, a drop of just over 30 cents from a year ago.

Elsewhere, Tom Crocker can only watch with envy as drivers fuel up with the lowest gas prices in Canada in a decade.

The trucking company owner has a Newfoundland-based fleet of a dozen rigs that – like almost the entire industry – run on diesel. And while the cost of diesel has come down somewhat in recent weeks, it hasn't matched the fall of gas prices.

"Our trucks run on diesel, so we're not really seeing that much of a change," he said.

Even worse, the cratering price of oil has companies thinking twice about investing in costly projects. Canada's Suncor, France's Total and Norway's Statoil have all recently halted projects in the oilsands, as the expense of unconventional mining means oil currently hovering around $50 a barrel isn't worth it.

That's bad news for Crocker – and the myriad companies and employees that pay the bills, directly and indirectly – from Canadian oil. Much of Crocker Transport's business comes from shipping freight to and from Bull Arm, the largest industrial fabrication site in Atlantic Canada, as well as other oil-related business and job sites, meaning an oil slowdown has him nervous.

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