SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions


By David G Hanger


September 09, 2015
Wednesday PM

The inefficiency, incompetence, and outright corruption that monopolies always bring is once again on display in Southeast Alaska with the now annual “GREAT ALASKA GASOLINE GARGANTUAN PRICE GOUGE & RIP-OFF” in full flood. I am sure we will hear that redundant chiming of excuses why all this has to be, but remember one simple thing: They are all a bunch of damned lies. Every year after the Fourth of July gasoline prices go down, the past two years incredibly dramatically, because of seasonal declines in demand, and generally stay down until after Thanksgiving, i.e. the onset of winter. Everywhere but Southeast Alaska where the rigged deal is in. All evidence indicates our politicians belong to Crowley [shipping], bought and paid for.

Notice what happens the instant Alaska Air Lines has competition, in that case just one additional carrier. The price goes down from $279 to $125 for a one-way ticket to Seattle. Shock of shocks; a trivial dose of free enterprise competition results in prices going down more than fifty percent. Notice also that despite this routine and systematic gasoline price gouging, there are no politicians capable (apparently) of saying anything publicly about it. They who purportedly collectively represent us do not want to represent us as a collective, but instead prefer to represent (with their absolute and abject silence) one greedhead, Crowley. Why? That’s a reasonable question, don’t you think?

Perhaps a little birdie flittering through the grapevine has provided us a little insight into this curiosity, for, lo, some months ago John Harrington is purported to have expressed concern about ‘fleet prices’ for gasoline. This actually brings into focus not one, but two new questions that demand an answer. If in fact Harrington expressed this concern (and I have no reason to believe otherwise), the first question is what kind of a deal does the City and the Borough have with Crowley for ‘fleet prices’ for gasoline? How much is the government not paying, so the door is wide open for Crowley to gouge the private sector as much as he wants because the politicians have already sold out to Crowley, and won’t, therefore, complain?

The second question should be pretty obvious by now. Where do Ketchikan City Manager Karl Amylon and Assemblymember John Harrington get their gasoline for their personal vehicles? The other elected officials and all the bureaucrats; where are they filling up? Do we in short have a special class of folks on this island who are full participants in this rigged deal, while the private sector is perpetually given the short (but highly expensive) end of the stick? I don’t know, but putting the pieces together certainly goes a long way to explaining why these duds you locals call politicians never have anything to say on a subject that is costing the private sector in their community hundreds of thousands to millions of extra dollars a month.

Guess what, duds, you have to talk now.

This is a very systematic scam; there is nothing inadvertent about it. As the price goes down in the second half of the year, the price immediately goes sky-high in Southeast Alaska. Every damned year!!! Were you to have found yourself down south from about May to the beginning of July among the first things you would have noticed is that the gasoline prices in Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland are about the same as what you are paying in Ketchikan. After the Fourth of July these prices always start a seasonal decline, and in the past two years by early August or so those prices have flat plummeted. Ten days ago the price of gasoline was $2.25 a gallon (87 octane); today it is $2.10; ten days hence it will most likely be $1.90 a gallon, and still declining.

It does not take a brain surgeon or rocket scientist to figure this crap out. You all do it yourselves. When the price is trending down with little likelihood of it going up in the near future, you wait until your tank is almost empty before you fill up. When the price is climbing, you top off frequently to try to stay a little ahead of the price curve. So this lame excuse that they need to empty their tanks of all this higher priced gasoline is so much bosh. If you cannot manage your inventory relative to price, you are incompetent. But what makes this that much greater a lie is the fact that gasoline was retailing for $3.14 a gallon on June 30, and the price is now $3.49 a gallon; but the wholesale price of gasoline has been crashing throughout the summer.

I, therefore, implore the Governor of this state to get involved immediately in stopping this gross and systematic rip-off of U.S. citizens, i.e. the private sector of Southeast Alaska that has now recurred for at least four annual cycles. This year the evidence is blatantly obvious that this monopolist is incapable of setting an honest price for his product; but instead exploits the annual seasonal decline in gasoline prices exclusively to his own corrupt gain by increasing his prices when everyone else on the planet is reducing theirs. He steals millions upon millions from us, so do something, Governor.

I also implore the FBI and the Office of the U.S. Attorney General to get over their VECO hangover, and get this damned monopolist off our backs. Justify your paychecks by doing something for the people.

David G Hanger
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received September 08, 2015 - Published September 09, 2015

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SitNews - September 08, 2015


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