Anchorage Assembly members are exploring solutions for relief at the pump

Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 3:21 PM AKDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2022 at 5:23 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Gas prices are continuing to soar across the country. Here in Alaska, the price of gas is more than $1.50 more than it was at this time last year, according to the AAA.

However, some of the Anchorage Assembly members are exploring the idea of offering motorists some tax relief at the pump. But would the savings that they want to offer motorists be enough to have an impact on their lives?

In Anchorage, the price of gas seems to be getting higher not every week, but every day. The price at one Tesoro station Tuesday afternoon was $4.69 per gallon.

“The price is so high that people can’t afford to buy it to go to work anymore. It’s been going up like 40 cents a day, and so it’s really out of hand,” said Cline’s Tesoro Owner Richard Cline.

Anchorage resident Galen Eskola said it’s painful for him to even look at the pump when he fills up his 2008 Toyota Tundra. His truck requires 16 gallons to fill the tank. One Tuesday it cost him a little more than $85 to fill up his truck. He said it used to cost $60, “if that.”

To offer motorists some relief assembly members Felix Rivera, Austin Quinn-Davidson, and Suzanne LaFrance announced in a press release that they are exploring the idea of a temporary pause of the municipality’s 10 cent motor fuel tax.

“As we are seeing gas prices go up, folks at the margins are just having more difficulties. They’re having to make choices, you know, ‘Do I fill up my tank in my car or do I pay for food? Do I pay for bills?,’” said Rivera. “So we’re trying to ease the burden as much as we can so that those choices aren’t so difficult.”

Some like the idea that the assembly members are proposing.

“That would be awesome. It would help a lot of people,” Eskola said.

Others are wondering how much of an impact 10 cents will make.

“I don’t think that’s going to make much difference in the $5 a gallon price of gas right now,” Cline said.

Rivera countered that the assembly members’ proposal is just part of the solution.

”One of the big reasons that we’re looking at it is because it’s not just going to be 10 cents. It’s going to be 10 cents, plus possibly 8 cents from the state, plus possibly 18 cents from the feds,” Rivera said. “So, you add it all up, it actually — you know, that’s several dollars each time that you fill up the tank.”

Gov. Mike Dunleavy recently joined calls to suspend the state’s motor fuel tax of 8 cents per gallon until next summer. Many Alaska legislators support the move, though a state economist said cutting prices by 8 cents per gallon would likely get “swallowed up” by the rise and fall of crude oil prices.

Rivera added there are still many details to sort out on the assembly’s proposal. Anchorage’s motor fuels tax was implemented in 2017 to offset property taxes. Rivera said the earliest an ordinance could be up for a vote by the assembly is April 12.

Six governors have sent a letter to U.S. congressional leaders asking them to lift the nation’s 18-cent-per-gallon federal tax.

Correction: This article has been updated to correct the name of Cline’s Tesoro and the spelling of assembly member Felix Rivera’s name in some instances.

Copyright 2022 KTUU. All rights reserved.