[from materials provided to Progressive Alaska by Alaska Representatives Les Gara, Chris Tuck and Pete Peterson]
In response to questions from Rep. Les Gara (D-Anch.), the Legislature’s research arm has issued a report confirming Alaskans are still paying the highest gas prices in the country, at about $1 per gallon higher than the national average. Consumers in the Lower 48 are paying roughly $1.65/gallon.
“The public is right to ask questions. Alaska refiners get crude oil at about the same price refiners pay in the Lower 48. But they’re adding on $1 more a gallon than refiners add in other states. Consumers have a right to ask whether they’re being gouged,” said Gara.
Gara, and newly elected House Democrats Pete Petersen and Chris Tuck are all working on legislation to investigate and prevent price gouging. The proposed legislation would kick in when refiner prices in Alaska unjustifiably jump compared to prices in comparable markets. The report concludes that gas retailers are also feeling a pinch. The high price in Alaska is being caused by refiner charges, not charges by gas stations.
“A lot of families in Alaska are struggling. Paying an extra dollar a gallon hurts when folks are facing high heating bills, and trying to make ends meet,” said Tuck. “The solutions to this problem are going to be difficult, but just standing by when your neighbors are hurting isn’t a great response. I got elected to work on problems, not to just look at them,” said Petersen.
Petersen and Tuck are newly elected House members from Anchorage.
State Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anch.) has led the effort in trying to find a policy solution to this problem and is working on legislation to that effect in the Senate.
Note: the email sent to me (and others) by Rep. Gara contained the entire report. I tried to copy the summary for PA's readers, but it is locked. I tried some passwords to gain access to it, but they all failed, and I have to make some baguettes for Turkey soup.
image - KTUU TV