In rural Alaska, $8.60 for a gallon of gasoline
These days, there's no shortage of information on the nation's gasoline prices. As motorists look for options as costs rise to levels not seen since the summer of 2008, publicly accessible databases can be found on sites such as the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration, the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, GasBuddy.com, Gasprices.Mapquest.com and others.
The only problem is that the databases are mostly confined to major metropolitan areas. That sometimes means that the most remote and most extreme examples go unreported.
In Alaska, for example, there are some places so isolated that they rely on infrequent fuel deliveries, said Rhees E. Burket, an Anchorage resident. Burket said in an email that the latest jump in prices is so severe that "many are moving to larger towns because the price of fuel, food and transportation has risen so much in the bush."
The problem of fuel prices in rural Alaska has now spawned a request from Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), who today called upon constituents to send him photos of the fuel prices in their areas.
"The rest of the country doesn't understand what gas prices are like in Alaska," Begich said.
A related plea on the Senator's website asked Alaskans to "Email, Facebook or Tweet your photo to help Senator Begich continue to build support for a comprehensive energy plan and legislation to provide relief from rising fuel prices."
So far, most of the prices sent in to the Senator's website have been in the $4 a gallon to $5.50 a gallon range, but one in particular stood out. A station in Anaktuvuk Pass, near the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, was selling a gallon of regular gasoline for $8.60. But motorists there were being offered a deal of sorts: they could buy five gallons for $43.
-- Ronald D. White