Over the past few months, gas prices have been creeping ever upward, fueled by political uncertainty in the Middle East and a reduction in U.S. oil refining capabilities.
In California, a state traditionally plagued by high gas prices, a gallon of Regular now costs well over $4.50 at most gas stations.
But according to USA Today’s Chris Woodyard, residents of Bethel, Alaska, are now regularly paying as much as $6.34 a gallon.
The reason behind the inflated prices?
As far as we can tell, it looks in part to be influenced by a drop in supply after a much-needed shipment of fuel failed to make it to shore back in December.
Bethel’s location in Alaska hasn’t helped either. Only accessible by air or river, supplying the remote town with much-needed gasoline during winter months is a risky and expensive venture involving air transportation or ice-road trucking.
If you’re struggling to imagine how expensive filling up your car at $6.34 a gallon would cost, we’ve done some basic math for you.
Fill up a the 26-gallon tank on a 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD, and you’d be paying out nearly $165.
Compare that to the $100 or so it would cost you based on an average U.S. gas price of $3.87, and we think you’ll agree that residents of Bethel are feeling the gas-station blues.
Then again, with only 16 miles of local roads -- only one of which is paved -- we can’t imagine locals will need to fill up that often.
As one of the U.S’s biggest oil-producing states, the irony of Alaska’s gas prices is particularly unfortunate. But just like Hawaii, which actually has a higher average gas price, Alaska has to rely on out-of-state refineries to provide it with most of its gasoline.
As gas prices rise nationwide, Alaskans are likely to continue to pay an inflated price, as is everyone else.
But next time you moan about filling up with $4 gas remember one thing. Compared to Alaska and the U.K. -- where gas prices are now around $9 a gallon nationwide -- your gas bill isn’t so bad.