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Alaska legislator vows to get to bottom of high gas prices

Alaska Dispatch

State Rep. Pete Petersen, D-Anchorage, is jumping on an issue that serves as a hardy perennial during election years – Alaska gasoline prices at least $1 per gallon more expensive than places in the Lower 48. 

Petersen, who represents District 25 in Anchorage, will face Lynette Moreno Hinz in the Democratic primary, with the winner meeting Republican Lance Pruitt in November.

"Alaska's staggering gas prices hurt people who can't afford to pay $60 to fill up their tank for a drive to go fishing,” Petersen said in press release. “The time has come to finally get to the bottom of why our gas prices are so high.”

Petersen said he was starting a petition drive on Friday with a petition to collect signatures on legislation designed to prevent price gouging.

Petersen's legislation, like that of Sen. Bill Wielechowski, who is sponsoring similar legislation in the Senate, would regulate refiners like other utilities.  They would be allowed a fair but not exorbitant profit.

"If refiners are raking in excessive profits at the expense of Alaskans, that needs to be changed. If they can prove they are not making exorbitant profits, then the law would not take effect and we'd (ask) why they have vastly raised the mark up they add to the price of crude oil when they sell the final product to dealers," Petersen said.

 

Previous inquiries into the price of Alaska gasoline have had little or no effect on prices.