VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C. – At a whopping $1.72.9 per litre, the price of regular unleaded gas in Metro Vancouver recently set a not-so-dubious North American record.

And the prices at the pump across Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast aren’t that far behind.

GasBuddy.com senior analyst Dan McTeague said gas prices will likely go up before they go down on the island, which gets its gas via barge from U.S. refineries.

“They’re high only because of the wholesale price that you have in Victoria which is about three cents a litre more expensive than Vancouver,” McTeague said.

“If you look at the base price there in Vancouver, stripping away the taxes at about $1.07.5 (per litre), you’re paying about $1.09. When you then add the taxes… federal, provincial, and the retail margin of six to 10 cents a litre, that’s what it costs for many stations to run their stations, then that’s the main reason. You can’t escape the wholesale price. Differences are non-existent and we’re not about to see any relief on that anytime soon.”

In Duncan, several stations are selling regular unleaded at $1.56.9 per litre.

According to the latest update from GasBuddy.com on Monday morning, the cheapest gas in Sechelt can be found at the Shell at 20-4330 Sunshine Coast Hwy & Field Rd., and Petro-Canada at 5556 Wharf Ave & Sunshine Coast Hwy, both at $1.56.9 per litre for regular unleaded.

The price at the pump Shell station at 5722 Cowrie St & Trail Ave was $1.59.9 per litre.

In Gibsons, three stations sold regular unleaded at $1.55.9 per litre: the Petro Canada at 883 Gibsons Way; the Chevron at 910 Gibsons Way; and the Shell at 1011 Seamount Way.

In Campbell River, 10 stations are selling regular unleaded at $1.53.9 per litre, according to GasBuddy.com.

As of this morning, you could find the cheapest gas in Courtenay at the Costco at 588 Crown Isle Blvd & Ryan Rd., at $1.47.9 per litre. Five stations were selling gas at $1.48.9 per litre.

Over in Comox, gas was selling at 1.48.9 per litre at the Husky at 648 Anderton Rd near Guthrie Rd., Chevron at 701 Anderton Rd & Guthrie Rd., and the Gas n Go at 3080 Comox Rd near Back Rd.

Powell River drivers felt the sting on Monday, with the best deal found at four stations, at $1.64.9 per litre.

And in Port Hardy, it was painful at the pump with two stations selling regular unleaded at Metro Vancouver-esque $1.67.9 per litre.

The U.S. State Department’s announcement that it will end exemptions from sanctions for countries that import Iranian oil will keep prices high, according to McTeague.

“Well, it’s going to sustain prices,” he said. “We should be seeing prices drop. The BP Cherry Point plant looks like it’s back online, but no sooner did that decision get announced earlier today, and we saw a bit of a decline in prices, that the decision by the U.S. administration to sanction Iranian oil sent oil futures soaring.”

A weaker loonie also didn’t help, he added. “And, of course, the Canadian dollar did not respond to the therapy because we’re not selling additional oil to make up the difference, so again we’re getting pounded for circumstances beyond our control.”

These are the prices that “constitute the new normal,” especially heading into the heavy driving season, according to McTeague.

South of the 49th parallel, people are going to continue to use their vehicles as the U.S. economy heats up.

McTeague said that ultimately, a weaker Canadian dollar and higher government taxes is the recipe for a spike in gas prices.

“While some like to suggest they (government taxes) are minimal and almost non-existent, (they) just make a bad situation worse.”