Satire or serious? Democratic senators in Alaska demand Republican attorney general investigate high fuel prices


It reads like a story from the satirical news site Babylon Bee, with a headline that might say, “Democrats can’t figure out why shutting down oil production has led to high prices.

On Thursday, Anchorage Sen. Bill Wielechowski and Fairbanks Sen. Scott Kawasaki made public their latest demand letter to Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor, in which they urge him to investigate what they have newly discovered — that gas prices are high again. They have a theory that gas sellers of Alaska are committing price gouging.

“Gasoline prices in Alaska have spiked by over 76 cents per gallon in the last month and are now $1.62 higher than the national average. The oil is from Alaska and is mostly refined in Alaska and there is no rational reason for this. That’s why yesterday I joined with Sen. Scott Kawasaki in asking the Attorney General to investigate this to protect Alaskans from getting gouged at the pump,” Wielechowski wrote.

In fact, Alaska’s refineries have the capacity to refine about 164,000 barrels of crude oil per calendar day, while the state is pumping about 475,000 barrels per day down the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, according to the Energy Information Agency.

Prices in Alaska for unleaded averaged $5.429 a gallon on Friday, according to AAA. But the price in California is much higher — $6.355, and drivers in Washington state are paying an average of $5.40 a gallon. Taxes on gas in those states are much higher than Alaska.

The two senators claim, without evidence, that prices in the Lower 48 have stabilized.

The head of petroleum analysis at said the dramatic increase on the West Coast is due to refinery maintenance issues.

“A string of planned and unplanned refinery maintenance issues has severely tightened fuel supply in California,” said Doug Shupe, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s corporate communications manager, as reported by the Times of San Diego. West Coast fuel inventories are also at the lowest level in about a decade according to Energy Information Administration.

Until the West Coast refineries are fully operational again, supply is going to be tight and will cause pump prices to be volatile,” he said.

In Alaska, oil production is near its lowest level in 40 years, as a result of progressive anti-oil federal policies that have made it difficult for companies to operate in the Arctic. But the two Democrats also appeared to be unaware that the Democratic Party and its environmentalist surrogates have a hand in lower production.

“Alaskans are getting gouged, and we need to find out why. Gasoline prices have gone up by over $1 in just the last week in Anchorage for no perceivable reason. It makes absolutely no sense – the oil comes from Alaska and is refined in Alaska,” said Sen. Wielechowski. “It’s our duty and the Administration’s duty to Alaskans to determine why this is the case, find solutions, and collaborate to reduce costs. Too much of Alaskans’ money is going to fuel instead of food on the table.”

“Alaskans have long seen high gasoline and heating fuel prices even with an oil pipeline in our backyard. We need answers, and we need them now to help lower the financial burden too many Alaskans are facing this upcoming winter. Knowledge is power and both branches of government need that information to make informed decisions on behalf of all Alaskans,” Sen. Kawasaki said.

“There are no apparent national or international market forces that would justify such disparate pricing in Alaska. While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February caused prices for crude oil and refined fuels to spike temporarily, prices have stabilized for most of the country—yet Alaska’s prices remain abnormally high. Given the severe financial burden that high fuel prices place on Alaskan families, it is important that we get to the bottom of this serious concern and identify any action that can be taken to address these excessive prices. With this investigation the Department should determine the cause of the exorbitant prices, whether any consumer protection laws have been violated, and what actions the state can take to address this crisis,” the two Democrats wrote.

Gas prices have been going up at an alarming rate all over the nation, partly because of the Biden Administration’s shutdown of domestic production as he tries to appease his eco-alarmist base, and partly because Russia President Vladimir Putin has taken advantage of a feeble American president and has destabilized Eastern Europe and the world while he has a chance. Last week, explosions took out a major gasline from Russia to Europe, in an act may believe was sabotage. This week, a bridge to Crimea was blown up. Power plants are threatened in Ukraine. Prices for gas in Europe will probably skyrocket this winter as a result of the war on Ukraine, and other fuels will follow. Worldwide, people are waking up to the reality of what a winter of high fuel prices might mean, and Democrats Wielechowski and Kawasaki seem to have just gotten the memo.

For the past six months, the Biden Administration has drained one million barrels of day of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to slow down price increases. That worked for a while, but world events have caught up with his strategy, and prices are now climbing quickly.

Also last week, OPEC and Russia agreed to cut production to drive up prices of oil.


  1. They’re squawking just to hear themselves talk? Or are they really that naïve?
    Supply and demand concept totally evades them. Not to mention consumer confidence.

    • Exactly, MJD! The business of business is business, and money is money. Voilà!

      Let the market regulate itself: if the public is paying, keep the cash flowing in! If the gas prices become too excessive for some, let them shell out $5,000 for one those electric bikes to buzz around town. And if they’re such skinflints that they refuse to accommodate themselves they can stay home and groan!

      As 1 Timothy 6:10 of the King James Bible has it: “[T]he love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Don’t weaponize the Bible by moaning about the price of gas and foisting your love of money on those who are willing the pay the price to play the game!

      Here on the good earth, money makes the world go round: cough up, pipe down, and stop squawking!

    • Our prices had dropped to 2.98 a week ago mostly because Governor Ron DeSantis imposed of 50 cent gas tax halt for the month of October. It should have dropped about 30 cents a gallon anyway because refineries are now making winter gasoline but they chose not to drop the price because it’s cheaper to manufacture winter gas but rather kept it the same trying to rape the consumer. After the news came out that OPEC and Russia were in bed together, that act ensured that fuel prices will it go up. But rather than wait for the cheaper gas in their tanks to run out before they raise the prices for higher costing gas, the gas stations chose to gouge the consumer and you can see the reflection of that on the gas price signs. They go up almost daily like they’re the stock market. The prices are reflected like gasoline futures and it should be reflected on their actual cost. Everybody’s got their hand out these days and they’re trying to get what they can get. Get while the getting’s good.

  2. Doesn’t Kawasaki know the North Pole refinery got shut down years ago? Did it reopen and I missed the news?

    Even when we had a big refinery fed by the pipeline, gas was sold at the price it cost to ship it up from the Lower 48. Otherwise they’d be leaving money on the table.

  3. Under Knowles administration, the RCA(regulatory commission of Alaska), allowed “ Henry Hub” to be applied to fuel distributors in Alaska. This means that the pump price would be averaged out among the western states and the price of gas at the pump in Alaska is averaged out with the western states, which includes California, who has the highest price per gallon due to the excessive tax. That is why even if Alaska had no state tax on gasoline, the price at the pump would remain much the same, based on this averaging system. The people at the RCA are all governor appointed, so let’s the blame go where it should. And the fuel distributors are the ones who are profiteering from this bad deal, not the oil companies.

  4. Happens every dang time they try to choke the golden goose!!!! Is anybody paying attention the Trans Alaska pipeline thru put? It’s not even 500,00 barrels per day!! 25% of the max when I was working on the slope. The goose can’t make more eggs if it doesn’t get fed. There’s more oil in the ground, but it has to be developed. And that’s not cheap!!! If the government wants more surveys, permits and studies, it’s gonna cost more and take a heck of a lot longer. The Dems don’t have a clue what it is to keep an economy going.

  5. Collectively, the Democrats want outrageously high fuel costs because that advances their desire to get Americans to hate fossil fuels as an energy source. And when enough Americans hate fossil fuels they will convert to electric vehicles, or so the Democrats hope and pray. But the reality is that Democrats individually are miserly tightwads and money counters. They hate having to dig deeper into their own pockets to pay their own bills. That’s the way Democrats think and operate. Sophistry, obfuscation, lies and hypocrisy. The Democrat’s way.

    • ….and don’t forget:
      cheaters and thieves too. Democrats have no morals or guiding principles. Just Big Government, pot stores, booze, hatred for Christians, and anti-America. But always first in line for free handouts.

  6. Lol I haven’t spent fifty bucks on gas in the last three years. Buy a hybrid or full electric pretty awesome it turns the whole fuel price thing into a non issue. Car goes 500 miles on one charge. And it will walk all over any combustion engine in performance. If your denying electric at this point your not in reality. Yes there are some problems they are ironing out but not nearly the problems internal combustion engines have. The days of some dumb ass loud diesel truck is thank god over. We don’t need to hear how small your dick is anymore..

    • Let them eat cake?

      And many of us need that ‘dumb a–’ diesel truck to run our businesses, with no connection to ‘anatomy’. Try pulling a loaded contractor trailer with your hybrid. Add many of the taxes we pay with the earnings from our businesses aided by the ‘dumb ass’ diesel go to subsidize and/or incentivize your hybrid. Add in also a lot of fossil fuel went into the production as well.

      Far bigger picture than your tiny very simplistic snapshot.

    • The price of electricity will shortly follow that of other energy sources. Your ignorance is much more than your crudity.

    • Yeah Loren, you are a fool. EVs require lots of coal to produce the electricity for recharging. Gag on that actuality and inhale all of that PM2 while you wait three hours to charge up. And don’t forget to swap out your $20,000 lithium batteries every 5 years.

    • Electricity is made with???? Do the research past sound bites, you expose your lack of intellectual depth on this. Oh, move back to where you came from too please. Take your federally subsidized hybrid and wreck someone elses grid and economy. We like our trucks and the food they haul..

    • When you run out of electricity on the side of the road, you do what, walk back to the nearest fueling station with a can of, what?

    • Lookiing at the situation regarding EV’s in Florida becoming damp, Carry on Lorenandrews, carry on

    • Yes, EVs are the thing in the future. It’s hard for consumers to give 120 years of tradition. There’s no argument against having an electric vehicle. The cost is coming down and the driving range is going up. I will never buy another gasoline powered automobile or truck. I bought one two years ago and I wish I had waited.

      • No, Greg, battery-powered vehicles are nothing more than a gimmick, a fad, and a dead-end. You will be laughing at the absurdity of them a few years from now, when everyone finally comes to their senses regarding them.

      • Before you purchase your EV or E-bike, you might want to review what is going on in Florida after the batteries get wet. Hint: Lithium fires are hard to put out. Cheers –

    • Your electric vehicle still requires fossifuel to charge, thank coal or gas for that. There is not one electric vehicle that gets 500 miles per charge. I know a guy who tests them in North Pole. -30 with a full charge, he barely made it to nenana and back. That’s 100 miles. EV mileage claims do take inclines or inclement weather in their false claims.

  7. It’s not just Alaskan Democrats who simply do not understand that oil and other commodities are subject to market forces like supply and demand, Democrats across the nation do not understand this simply truth. That are calling for price caps and further taxation on oil and oil based products…both would have the effect of raising prices and/or cutting supply. Governments of all levels from city, borough, county, state, and federal levels fill their coffers with oil money on a daily basis and then those who have the least amount of braincells decry the “gouging” of oil companies while demanding oil companies be gouged by the government to pay for more government!

    • “Democrats who simply do not understand that oil and other commodities are subject to market forces like supply and demand, Democrats across the nation do not understand this simple truth.”
      Yes, all true, but then they don’t understand that communism has never worked, that guns themselves don’t kill people, that there are only 2 genders and that a baby in the womb is a human being. They are God-less and can’t understand simple, obvious truths.
      As for electric cars being energy efficient: they are not. They require fossil fuels to get charged, are tremendously messy ecologically when it comes to production, super expensive to replace the batteries in, will not pull loads well, don’t perform well in cold temperatures (my battery powered chainsaw gives out quickly when it is freezing or below), and are known to catch fire. Anyone who thinks they can adequately replace internal combustion engines is ignoring the facts while spouting liberal talking points.

  8. If I remember correctly, everybody just got a PFD and an Energy Relief payment. I’d say y’all don’t have much to complain about. Suck it up.

    • Speaking of sucking…

      You’re getting as bad as Frank lately.
      Heart not in your snark anymore? Tired of being owned?

      The PFD supplement was an overdue, one time allotment. The high gas prices have been an ongoing and growing problem for all of us, especially the poorest. Rural Alaska is hit worst of all.

      You have done issue with rural Alaska? Too native for you? The hard left has a long track record of hating non white people.

      Even since Biden was sworn in this situation has been getting exponentially worse. You know this, but for some reason known only to you (not that I care, you’re entitled to be wrong) you chose to build straw man after straw man. Denial is a tough issue to break.

      Maybe consider going back to the ADN to practice your snark. You’re not up to this anymore.

  9. I had proposed that we the people not Juneau take some of our PFD and build our own refinery and refine our own oil at cost years ago in the ADN. This looks to be a good idea now. We could sell gas at cost and build an delivery infrastructure to get cheep fuel to all Alaskans and not worry about the price of oil.

    • Ah, Socialism at its finest. Anyone remember the Valdez grain elevators, the Delta barley projects, or the Mat-Su dairy projects, et al.?

      • This would be ran by private Alaskans not Juneau. We own the oil and PFD not the politicians as they think they do.

      • Exactly how, with the state using tax dollars collected from citizens, especially if approved by voters in a bond form, creating energy infrastructure?

        I get you are probably getting really tired of being made a fool of, but you’re not even trying anymore.

        It is openly acknowledged by everyone but the far, far, right government has some basic duties and responsibilities owned it’s citizens. The citizens by bond or by constitution/charter have ongoing input to what those obligations are.

        It is not by each ability according to others needs. Not by a long shot.

        Only someone desperate to score points and lacking anything remotely resembling a cogent argument would make the stretch you’re trying.

        • You need to really understand what I said. Use part of the PFD not taxes and the hell with the government it’s our oil and money.

  10. Senators K&W are either lying through their teeth or are too ignorant to be qualified to hold their office – or both? Chutzpah is too weak a word to describe what they have said here.

  11. It actually hurts a little to write this since these two bozos are democrats, but…
    Kawasaki and Wielechowski do have a point. Except that this is not just Alaska’s problem alone. US oil prices in 2012 were around $80-$100 per barrel – same as today. Gasoline prices in 2012 were around $3.60. Yet today gasoline is almost $2 higher than that. Why?

    Where is that $2 going? Look at the surging profit statements from BigOil for the last several quarters:
    At the end of June, Exxon’s annual profit (Jul 21 – Jun 22) was up 120% over the previous year – at $91 billion! Their quarterly profit from Apr 22 – Jun 22 was up 170% over the previous year, suggesting a much larger annual profit statement will be coming next year.

    I’ve got nothing against corporations earning profits. But I hate their hypocrisy of trying to pin it on Brandon. The oil that stopped flowing when Brandon was elected did not just disappear, the taps were turned off – by BigOil – and all that oil is still sitting in the ground. When you can make more money by pumping less, why wouldn’t you? Just don’t play the victim.

    • Oil is purchased in the futures market. Not on what the price is now, but what it may cost to replace the current batch.

      Since no one knows, guesses have to be made. The guesses always run on the high side of conservative estimates.

  12. Huge budget surplus in our state budget, more revenues for Permanent Fund managers to purchase stocks trading at a discount, and ConocoPhillips recovering capital after losing money at $30 a barrel oil, guess those are all bad occurrences. No let’s attack our oil industry and create a state income tax. Almost as dumb as replacing a senior senator that chairs resource development with one that starts at the bottom of the seniority list.

  13. In regards to the poster that had an issue with the loud a– diesel trucks…
    Quick question what is the range on your electric vehicle at -30?
    Here in Alaska the concern of high fuel prices go a lot deeper than just transportation. The majority of families here heat there homes with fuel oil. When you have to purchase 200 gallons of oil a month to keep the -30 weather at bay it adds up to a lot more than the pfd/fuel offset payment.
    In closing I would say, enjoy your EV down there in the lower 48 where the temperature stays well above 0, there are charging stations, And it doesn’t cost 1000 dollars a month now for heating fuel.
    Alaska has its own unique set of challenges and they should be researched before commenting about how horrible and backwards we are up here

  14. And furthermore, you love high oil prices when they close the Alaskan budget gap, create oil industry jobs, and increase Alaskan investment, thereby inflating PFDs in the long run. Yet you carry on about high pump prices. Geez.

    • I’m sorry you skipped Econ class. But let me break it down for you.

      -the current economy is out of natural balance. The government decided to cripple us by destroying the energies sector.

      -the market reacts badly when politicians muck with it. Artificially create a shortage, prices exceed natural inflationary increases. In short, it becomes government caused (not the real term, but I’m speaking overly simply for my audience) “price gouging”. Costs must soar to insure availability of product.

      -because the same geniuses who decided to destroy the energies sector have gone insane printing money, inflation has spiraled out of control. This is suppression of wages and devaluation of currency.

      In English (I’ll type slowly): the dollar doesn’t go as far as it did, the costs of keeping a business open go up, businesses have to hold wages or lay off people.

      Where all this comes together. Biden raped the energies sector. He and Trump (to be fair) instigated the mass printing of money we didn’t have. High demand, fixed business costs, and low buying power were forced on the market. And the market hit back.

      The crowing achievement is Biden didn’t just screw us, his psychotic tantrum is pushing the world into a hard recession.

      • Our current government caused the problems, and now wants to claim that they alone are the one’s to fix the very problems they created.

  15. I actually love these high energy costs and I hope it hurts those that vote for Democrats the most.

  16. It’s false that current fuel prices in Alaska have anything to do with Biden’s policies on oil production. It takes years to explore, develop and produce an oil filed on the north slope. Nothing Biden has or hasn’t done has had any effect on the volume of oil being produced from those fields.

    The evidence that producers are price gouging, however, is pretty clear. After hitting a peak price of around 120/barrel in June, the price of oil fell to around $80/barrel in June. Prices for gas in Anchorage reached around $5.50/gallon in June, then slowly began dropping until early September. They then began going back up, even though the price of oil was still dropping. The price of gasoline is now back where title was in June even though the price of oil is around $90/barrel.

    So the companies selling gasoline in Anchorage are charging way more for gasoline than is justified. They are price gouging plain and simple. Is it a coincidence that they started raising prices around the time we were set to get our PFDs?

    Governor Dunleavey will do nothing about this because he is a pawn of the oil companies. The Governor of California has called the legislature back in session to impose a windfall profits tax on oil companies because of their predatory behavior. But Dunleavey will do nothing, because he is a sycophant of big oil.

    • The price of oil and the price of gas are not directly coupled together, anyone with a modicum of understanding of how oil is produced and how oil is refined understands this simple concept.

    • Big oil doesn’t have any reasonable opportunity to invest in future production because of Biden’s anti-energy policies. No way to project stability in the energy sector.
      So the “profits” which would normally be absorbed into developing for the future have been put on hold. Naturally the accumulated monies would look like profit gouging, but that monies doesn’t have anywhere to go. In short; it’s not profit monies, but accumulated stagnant investment monies.

  17. Shut down new pipelines. Regulate the oil industries to bits. Demonize any attempt to build new refineries. Prevent new drilling.

    Then whine about high prices at the pump. These democrats make me ill.

  18. Well cry a river senators. We did have lower gas prices while Trump was president. Alaskans better buckle up and get ready for a bumpy road ahead, gas prices are going to increase worse after november when biden’s democrat halt draining that petroleum reserve. Cry long enough maybe we can send enough gallon buckets of tears to cali for powering its electric cars. Hahahaha.

  19. Did 50-year old Scott Kawasaki ever move out of his mom’s house? Just asking? Why would he care about the price of gas? His mom pays all the expenses. Does he give her his PFD?

  20. Everytime a stolen election is mentioned in the news, the left is quick to pipe up and chime in BASELESS. “They have a theory that gas sellers in Alaska are committing price gouging” Sounds strangely familiar.

  21. Someone needs to sit these fellas down and teach them about commodities, futures, and Keynesian economics.

    Oh, I forget. It’s not actually about the price of fuel, it’s about looking like you’re doing something.

    The only somethings that these folks are interested in doing is destroying an industry that doesn’t directly benefit them and appealing to their base.

    These Progressive politicians understand very well that their power comes from other people’s poverty.

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