ANCHORAGE - Gas prices have dropped about 12 cents in Alaska in the past week. And it's part of a trend consumers are seeing across the country. It's hard to avoid seeing these numbers, posted at every gas station in the U.S. But why are they dropping now? Does it have anything to do with Hurricane Sandy? Or the upcoming election?
UAA economist Scott Goldsmith says "no" on both counts.
He said the power of the president is dramatically exaggerated and there is no way the adminstration could influence the gas prices in such a short span.
Goldsmith also said claims that Hurricane Sandy had influenced West Coast gas prices are an exaggeration. He said the more likely reasons are a drop in crude oil prices, less winter driving, and cheaper refining costs in the winter.
Goldsmith specializes in Alaska economics, and said his experience leaves him wishing Alaskans would pay less attention to what they pay at the pump and take more notice of other numbers that affect them, like the declining trans-Alaska oil throughput that funds much of the state government.
"I think people should pay more attention to the oil patch in Alaska than what is happening to gasoline prices at the pump."