Local gas stations have been feeling the pinch of gas shortages occurring at some of Suncor’s Petro-Canada gas stations throughout Western Canada, including here in Merritt.

On Friday (June 3), the Herald learned that Petro-Canada on Voght Street had run out of regular and diesel fuel. The Petro-Canada gas station at 7-11 was also out of gasoline as of Monday at noon.

Suncor spokeswoman Sneh Seetal told the Herald that the cumulative impact of the Fort McMurray wildfires and an unplanned unit outage at a refinery in Edmonton has impacted the amount of gasoline and diesel that is usually produced.

“We do continue to produce gasoline and diesel, but it is at a reduced rate,” Seetal said. “As a result there is a temporary shortage of supply at our sites Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as well as sites in the interior [of] B.C.”

Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst for Canada with Gasbuddy.com, told the Herald that the shortage could also impact other gas stations as more people will be relying on the supply of alternative sources.

“More people will not be buying gasoline at Petro-Canada, they’ll be buying it at Chevron or Esso or Shell, or whoever the other alternative,” McTeague said.

That impact appears to have been felt.

An employee at the Shell station on DeWolf Way told the Herald they ran out of all types of gas over the weekend.

The Chevron on DeWolf Way, Super Save Gas on Nicola Avenue, the Husky gas station on Airport Road and Extra Foods gas bar all reported they still had fuel as of noon Monday, but some remarked that they were seeing a high volume of customers.

Seetal said it’s difficult to say when the supply lines will return to normal.

“We have been working to minimize the impact on customers as much as possible. On the refinery supply front, we have been sourcing additional supply, and we are also restarting our oil sands operations in a safe manner,” Seetal said. “On the gasoline and diesel front we have been securing additional gasoline, both from within our own network and also from other companies, and we’re bringing that in to different regions by truck and rail.”