Gas-diesel tax should be suspended

Posted: Friday, May 09, 2008

Total state and federal gas tax in New York is 62.9 cents per gallon. In California it's 60 cents per gallon. Here in Alaska the total state and federal gas tax is 26.4 cents per gallon.

How then can the pump price of gas be virtually the same in all three states? Go figure.

According to the Alaska Tax Bureau, high fuel prices are caused by unregulated transporters and marketers. Simply stated, we are being gouged by wholesalers and retailers who can charge whatever the market will bear.

Regardless of who's at fault, the rising price of fuel spells calamity to Alaska's all-important tourist industry. The governor needs to first investigate why Alaskans are paying nearly 40 cents per gallon to profiteers. Then she needs to sign an executive order immediately to suspend Alaska's gas-diesel tax and to put a cap on the price of fuel at the pump.

With that kind of relief, gas and diesel prices would drop to around $3.50 per gallon. I'm sure wholesalers and retailers in New York and California are making money, and yet even with the high taxes, they can still pump gas for the same price we are paying.

Alaska's tourist industry is in danger. It needs to collectively put pressure on the governor to act now in order to prevent a disastrous tourist season. If it wants to survive, the tourist industry can ill afford to do nothing.

Norm Olson


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