FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2015
Senator Wielechowski Wants an Explanation for the High Gas Prices in Alaska
Calls for the Repeal of the In-State Refinery Tax Credit
ANCHORAGE – Today, Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) sent a letter to Alaska Governor Bill Walker and Attorney General Craig Richards requesting an update of the Attorney General’s report on Alaska Petroleum Products Pricing Investigation to examine the reasons behind the high gas prices in Alaska as compared to the lower 48 states.
“One of the benefits of low oil prices should be a decrease in prices for gasoline and heating fuel. That’s the case around the country,” said Sen. Wielechowski. “With the closing of the Flint Hills refinery, we’ve been seeing a narrowing of the players in the refinery industry in Alaska allowing for less and less competition. Alaskans deserve to know if the near-monopoly in the refining business in Alaska is the cause for their pain at the pump.”
Currently, Alaska has the highest gas prices in the country. These high prices coupled with the high cost of living in Alaska is hampering economic development and taking money out of the pockets of hard-working Alaskans.
In Wednesday’s letter, Sen. Wielechowski also called for the repeal of the controversial and unnecessary refinery tax credit bill, HB 287, when the Alaska Legislature convenes again in January.
“I continue to have strong reservations about the State of Alaska subsidizing profitable refineries through tax credits,” said Sen. Wielechowski. “At least one refinery, the Tesoro refinery in Nikiski, is on record as saying they don’t need the tax credit. I believe the refinery tax credit is a bad deal for the State of Alaska and not in the best interest of the people I represent, especially at a time when they are paying so much for gas at the pump.”
Sen. Wielechowski has worked for years on gas price gouging issues and is the sponsor of Senate Bill 10, which empowers the Attorney General to investigate claims of price gouging in Alaska. Despite the large difference between gas prices in Alaska and the lower 48 states, SB 10 did not receive a hearing during the First Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature.