ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The residents of Nome, Alaska, could be looking at a very costly winter: $9-a-gallon gasoline.
The coastal city of more than 3,500 residents that is known for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is iced-in, and a massive winter storm this month prevented a barge that usually carries fuel from getting to shore.
The most likely plan is to fly it in, but it would be costly and could be a logistical nightmare.
A gallon of gas was selling for $5.98 and jet fuel $6.77 a gallon on Wednesday. The next barge delivery wouldn’t be until next June. In the meantime, flying fuel to the city could increase the cost per gallon by $3 to $4, officials said.
“We are going to have to have fuel drivers picking up fuel 24 hours a day as flights are available to fly into Nome,” said Jason Evans, board chairman of Sitnasuak Native Corp., which provides services to the region.
Sitnasuak arranged in May with petroleum distributor Delta Western Inc. to have three barges deliver fuel to Nome, but only one arrived early in the summer, Evans said. That barge carried home heating fuel.
The storm that barreled into Alaska’s western coastline in mid-November, zeroing in on Nome, prevented the arrival of a barge carrying 1.6-million gallons of gasoline and diesel.