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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Gas Prices in Alaska

By Rep. Dan Ortiz


February 15, 2016
Monday PM

A daily goal of mine, as your House District 36 representative, is to create avenues for constituent communication. A belief in “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, motivates me to make constituent communication easy and inviting.

One area of concern, about which I have been hearing often from folks in our district, is persistent high gas prices at the pump. Gas prices have stayed high in Southeast Alaska despite a monumental drop in the price of a barrel of oil.

If Alaskans must endure a significant reduction in services provided by the State of Alaska, due to our need to reduce our government expenditures at this time of low oil prices and overproduction, Alaskans should in turn enjoy reduced prices at the pump.

After some investigation, I’ve found one of the issues causing high prices to be the limited number of wholesale gas suppliers within Alaska. One of these suppliers accounts for approximately 80 percent of the gas supply in Alaska. The crux of our high pump prices is the cost of wholesale gas in Alaska, rather than the individual gas stations in our communities.

The Walker Administration was asked to conduct an investigation into Alaska’s high gas prices. While Governor Walker declined to conduct an official investigation, his administration has been meeting with suppliers in an effort to have these suppliers make voluntary adjustments in their prices. If Governor Walker is not satisfied with their voluntary effort, there are some alternative actions at the administration’s disposal that he has expressed a willingness to take.

I have received anecdotal evidence that gas prices are falling a bit in southern Southeast. This has occurred while the oil per barrel price continues to decline. Let’s hope southern Southeast Alaskans see a “silver lining” along the dark cloud of Alaska’s declining oil revenue.

Dan Ortiz
Ketchikan, Alaska

About: Dan Ortiz is an independent member of the Alaska House of Representatives, who has since 2015 represented the 36th District. He is the only independent in the Alaska State Legislature.

Received February 15, 2016 - Published February 15, 2016




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