Monday, January 26, 2009

Fuel costs didn't drop in rural Alaska, now in crisis

"Life in rural Alaska always has been treacherous," reports Kim Murphy of the Los Angeles Times. "But last year's dramatic escalation in fuel prices, combined with a disastrous fishing season, plunged the ramshackle villages of America's frontier into one of the worst crises in decades, prompting calls for humanitarian aid and demands for pricing reform."

Rural Alaskans are forced to lock in fuel contracts for fall delivery, meaning that while other Americans have seen fuel prices fall, Alaskans were saddled with contracts signed while prices were at peak. "Worse, some villages weren't able to get their bulk deliveries of winter fuel by barge because the early onset of winter froze the river," writes Murphy. "Much of the fuel now must be flown in, which makes it even more expensive." Food prices are also a growing concern. "A pound of hot dogs in the village store costs $7.39, and a two-pound loaf of domestic cheese runs $17.49. A loaf of Wonder Bread is $5.85." (Read more)

Alaska officials are trying to remedy the problem. Some envision "a voucher program that provides fuel based on need -- for seniors living on a fixed income, for example -- rather than giving free fuel to everyone in a community," reports Kyle Hopkins of the Anchorage Daily News. On top of the fuel problem, food shortages have been reported, and many fishermen claim they lost money last year. (Read more)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting blog -- I'll be checking back.

You might be interested in what we are doing to help one village in rural Alaska:

Maybe you can help explain why the main stream media is acting like this isn't a problem and Sarah Palin is ignoring it.