Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Actually, Tom, I Doubt You're Paying $8 Per Gallon

"Where will it stop?" asked Kenai Republican Sen. Tom Wagoner. "Everyone in the state has high fuel bills."

Actually, the cost of fuel in many road system areas (like Squarebanks) has dropped considerably since the economy has tanked. Even the price of firewood has plunged - now that fuel oil has come down, there is less demand for firewood. At the beginning of winter (before the economy tanked) some local people were asking for $375 for a split cord of spruce. $375!! This week, those same local entrepreneurs are asking $220. Coincidence?

Unlike, say, for Emmonak and every other community in Alaska where the fuel vendor has to buy an entire season's fuel before the sea freezes and no more barges deliver until ... you guessed ... the sea ice melts. They are locked in to higher prices until the next delivery, because they bought the fuel at the inflated price.

I asked a friend of mine in a coastal regional center what her fuel bill was per month right now. $800. Thank goodness she has a good paying job. But you can bet she is looking forward to spring and a new fuel delivery for her town.

You know why folks in urban centers like mine (even if I live slightly out of town) are surprised by the crisis in Emmonak and not particularly sympathetic? Because our own crisis has abated some - and human beings are odd creatures with attention spans slightly longer than that of a labrador retriever puppy - and now that we're better able to meet our bills and fill up the big fricking pickup trucks, now that it is not hurting us, everyone is suddenly all "What high fuel prices? Whatever do you mean?"

That, and despite all the hoohaa over our 50 years of statehood in my local fishwrapper, the urban-rural divide has never been greater. But that's a topic for another post.


KC said...

I started to write a different reply about how I agree, though with a caveat, before I went to read the article. I take everything I didn't write back. Sen. Wagoner is apparently a giant fucktard (pardon my Chinese). Not as big as some of the dog brained idiots that troll the ADN comments section, but he actually has some say in matters.

Though as an unrelated note, I will say 220/cord is kinda high. Especially since a lot of what's being sold is still green. Supply and demand, I guess.

What's weird is everyone's bringing up Kotlik as a place that should also be looked at? That's fine with me, since I've got more friends there. But no one's talked about neighbouring Alakanuk, which is right next to Emo. Kotlik is a good day's ride away from Emmonak.

Cathy said...

wrote a big long reply and blogger ate it. Piss me off.

CabinDweller said...

KC: Yeah, $220 a cord IS high. Luckily, I won't have to buy any.

Cathy: Well of course, now, I am totally curious as to your response.

Cathy said...

I was too dang lazy to rewrite it. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.

ALaskanbyChoice said...

Wahhh... Suck it up and pay it, go chop wood, hunt for your meat, or move!
Nobody is making the people of the villages or anyone else living off the grid stay where they are...
There is more than enough work in Alaska for everybody to have a job.
If i want to spend my hard-earned money to fill up my Dually,so be it..

CabinDweller said...

The point is not whether speoples hould live in the village or leave.

The point of the post, as you might notice upon taking another look at the first sentence, is that while urban Alaskans (or wilderburbian Alaskans like myself) have seen relief from the crazy fuel prices, most rural communities have not. And Tom Wagoner is full of it.

No, Fairbanks is not rural,despite all our pretensions to being so.

And, it is difficult to cut wood where there are no trees.