Compared with the interior, fuel prices in the YK Delta are extremely steep. Many villages’ gas prices hover around $7.50 per gallon, but two villages have gas prices at or above $9.00 per gallon in two communities.
In the villages on Nelson Island the price of fuel varies greatly. In Tununuk it’s $7.15 a gallon. In Toksook Bay the price jumps up to $7.78.
But, in the village of Nightmute it’s up “to $9.00 (per gallon) for gasoline,” Teddy Dull said.
Dull works for the City of Nightmute, the village’s lone fuel provider. He said the price was $.70 cheaper per gallon just a month ago.
“It’s hurting a lot of people’s wallets right now,” he said.
Dull said the city was in danger of running out of fuel this spring, a time when many need gasoline to get to the coast to hunt for seal.
So, Dull said, the city purchased 1,000 gallons of fuel from Tununuk, fifteen miles to the northwest.
“And we had to haul it by snowmachine over here. And they had to fix the prices in order to get a little bit of profit off it,” he said.
It’s not unheard of for communities to purchase bulk fuel to last until a barge can make it upriver.
Napaskiak had to do the same thing this spring.
“For gas fuel it’s $9.65 a gallon,” Napaskiak Incorporated Village Store Assistant Manager Elizabeth Nicholas said.
Nicholas said the village had 3,600 gallons of fuel trucked in to be able to make it into the summer.
The store had to foot the bill not only for the trucking, but also plowing the ice road.
Nicholas said the village hopes to install more fuel holding tanks to avoid having to truck in fuel in the future.
Until then Napaksiak has quite possibly the highest fuel prices per gallon in the region and maybe even the state.
In Bethel prices vary between $7.06 and $7.11 per gallon.
Up the Kuskokwim in Aniak the price is $7.37 per gallon.
In St. Mary’s on the Yukon, it’s $7.33 per gallon.
The lowest price per gallon in the region could be found in Emmonak, at $6.65 per gallon.
In the interior the prices are much lower, of course. The average price per gallon in Anchorage is $3.88.