Fuel prices down, but not in Dillingham
January 8, 2010
From Joshua Saul at Alaska Dispatch: High 2008 oil prices are still busting budgets in this Bristol Bay town. Bob Himschoot heats his Dillingham home with firewood he cuts himself, and after oil prices skyrocketed in the summer of 2008, the city councilman saw more of his neighbors doing the same. But after oil prices dropped back down that winter and the rest of the country put the price-spike behind them, Dillingham residents even today are still paying prices kept high by fuel remaining from the summer of 2008.
Dillingham’s fuel-price hangover, now going strong for more than six months, is a result of how diesel and gasoline are delivered in rural Alaska. Because many remote towns depend on barges to ship fuel in during ice-free months, fuel prices are set when the last vessel leaves town. The fuel delivered in summer 2008 was so expensive that many Dillingham residents cut their consumption. And when more fuel was delivered last summer, there was an unusually large supply of the 2008-priced fuel still sitting in the tanks. Read more