Friday, May 24, 2013
Pain at the Pump
As fuel prices in Anchorage quickly approach $4 per gallon for regular gas, how are Alaskans coping with the rising cost of goods?
The average retail price of gasoline in Anchorage has jumped 6.3 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.92 cents per gallon; nationally, the average retail price fell 3 cents, averaging $3.53 cents per gallon, according to AnchorageGasPrices.com.
As fuel prices in Anchorage quickly approach $4 per gallon for regular gas, are Alaskans still able to make ends meet despite the rising cost of goods?
Alaska Governor Sean Parnell proposes suspending the state fuel motor tax, which he says will lighten the load on Alaskans. But even should it pass, the savings to the customer only amounts to about 8 cents per gallon.
The Parnell administration said the motor fuel tax brings in roughly $40 million per year and insists that if the 8-cent-per-gallon tax were lifted, an average family with two vehicles would save about $100 per year.
For Alaskans with boats or snow machines, the savings could be even higher.
But for many, high gas prices mean big toys are no longer an option.
“It's just killing us, you know,” said gas station customer James Clifton. “Between filling up my truck and filling up my cab I'm spending $60 a night on my cab, and probably spending at least $125 a week on my pick up truck. Something has to change,” Clifton said.
So if some people are breaking the bank on gasoline, what are they giving up to break even?
“Well, health care for one,” Clifton said.
One Anchorage woman said she swaps her car for a motorcycle in the summer to save money.
“People don't fill up their tanks anymore,” said Richard Cline, owner of Cline's Tesoro on 5th & Gambell. Now he sees drivers filling up their tanks in $20 and $30 increments.
Gas officials say fuel demand only increases during the summer months; so don't hold your breath for lower prices.
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who opposes the proposed state motor fuel tax suspension, says he understands why Parnell is suggesting it, but says rejecting money by suspending the gas tax could make it more challenging to request and receive money for infrastructure projects from the U.S.