PETERSBURG-AK As the price of crude oil has plummeted since the summer, Alaskan consumers have been questioning why gas prices in our state have not dropped nearly as fast as those in the lower-48. Alaska lawmakers have held hearings and proposed legislation on the issue.
At the pumps in southeast Alaska this past week, prices varied, from just around three dollars in the Juneau, to three-sixty or seventy in Petersburg and Sitka, to four-eighty-nine in Wrangell. Meanwhile, average prices in Washington state dropped below two dollars a gallon.
But fuel companies say Alaska’s costs and market dynamics are very different from the lower-48. One of southeast’s major fuel sellers blames the slow price-drop on a slowly-draining inventory of fuel that it purchased back when the cost was much higher. Petro Marine Services purchases its fuel for southeast Alaska in large quantities and ships it up from the pacific northwest. The company says the regions customers should continue to see prices drop as its old inventory is sold off and replaced with new, cheaper gas.
Matt Lichtenstein asked for an explanation from Petro marketing director Smokey Norten, who says the company has received a “tsunami” of questions from the public.
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