Fairbanks fuel costs double in four years

Posted: Monday, April 07, 2008

FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks residents are paying more than twice as much on energy bills as they did four years ago.

According to an analysis released by the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the average household spent $5,724 on non-business-related energy needs in 2007 - a 102 percent increase from four years prior. The analysis looked at electricity costs, gasoline prices and home heating bills.

Higher gasoline prices have complicated spending, according to resident Debra Tate.

"You may have to cut back on things like groceries to make do with higher costs of energy and gasoline," she said. "You're doing Hamburger Helper with no hamburger. You hope a friend gives you some moose meat. It's really a pinch."

Natural gas prices in Fairbanks also rose significantly in recent years - more than a 200 percent jump from 2002.

Golden Valley Electric Association reported that the average monthly household electricity bill climbed to $135 from $112 over the year ending in January. The hike was due largely to higher fuel surcharges, the result of the cooperative's own energy struggles.

Spokeswoman Corrine Bradish said the increase in fuel surcharges was difficult to avoid. The cooperative's fuel bills have been rising along with everyone else's.

Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Jim Whitaker has called the rising cost of fuel and petroleum products an "energy crisis" for Interior Alaska.

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