A passenger pumps gas into a vehicle Sunday at Fisherman’s Bend, which on that day had Juneau’s lowest price for regular unleaded at just under $4 a gallon. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

A passenger pumps gas into a vehicle Sunday at Fisherman’s Bend, which on that day had Juneau’s lowest price for regular unleaded at just under $4 a gallon. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s cheapest gas is $4 a gallon, the most expensive is $5 — from the same supplier

Self-service Fisherman’s Bend in low-price lead, while supplier Delta Western’s stations at top end.

The least expensive gas in Juneau is $4 a gallon and the most expensive is $5 a gallon, which raises the obvious question of why. And a less obvious question since the same supplier provides gas to the lowest- and highest-priced stations.

Motorists looking for the cheapest gas need to travel to the town’s northernmost station at Fisherman’s Bend, just past Auke Bay Harbor, where the price for regular unleaded was $3.999 as of Sunday. The standalone self-service pumps, with no station to speak of, have generally had Juneau’s lowest prices for some time. Steven Fuller, manager of Fisherman’s Bend, said Monday he doesn’t have an explanation for why other stations are charging up to a dollar more a gallon — including two run by the company that supplies him with gas.

“I just do what I’ve been doing for the last 15 years,” he said.

A few hundred yards south of Fisherman’s Bend is DeHart’s Auke Bay Store which is at the higher end of Juneau’s price scale at $4.799 a gallon, although the location also has a hot food operation and fishing-oriented convenience store overlooking the harbor. Kara White, store director for DeHart’s, said customers do comment about the price difference, but the gas prices at her store are based on constantly fluctuating prices of fuel when it arrives on the barge.

“I’m not trying to price gouge or anything,” she said. “I just go based off of what our costs will be and figure it out from there.”

A pump at the Delta Western Petroleum station in downtown Juneau displays a price of just under $5 a gallon for regular unleaded gas, matching two other stations with the highest price in town on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

A pump at the Delta Western Petroleum station in downtown Juneau displays a price of just under $5 a gallon for regular unleaded gas, matching two other stations with the highest price in town on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Of the three stations in Juneau that charge $4.999 a gallon, two are operated by Delta Western Petroleum, which also supplies Fisherman’s Bend. One is downtown near the federal building, where the closest station is Capital Service that also charges $4.999 a gallon, while the other is across the street from the Mendenhall Mall — within eyesight of the gas station at Safeway that had the second-lowest prices at $4.099 a gallon.

Phone and email messages to Delta Western officials in Juneau did not receive a reply Monday. A person who answered the phone at Capital Service declined to speak on the record about the station’s prices.

Key factors that may affect prices at stations are contractual agreements with the supplier — which may involve purchasing/selling fuel at a set price — and competition from nearby stations, said Peter Bibb, assistant plant manager at Petro Marine Services, which supplies fuel to its stations in Lemon Creek and near the airport, as well as Douglas Depot.

Prices at Petro One’s Lemon Creek and Douglas stations are $4.379 and$4.369, respectively, while the relatively new Petro One Power Stop in close proximity to Fred Meyer charges $4.249. While Fred Meyer’s prices on Sunday were higher at $4.369 a gallon, Bibb said the store generally has a strong influence on the price of nearby stations due to its large-scale purchasing power.

Two other stations near the retail outlet also have similar prices, with Mike’s Airport Express charging $4.399 and Gas N’ Go in Lemon Creek $4.389.

A chart shows prices for a gallon of unleaded gas in Juneau, as well as the statewide and nationwide averages, on Sunday, Oct. 22.

A chart shows prices for a gallon of unleaded gas in Juneau, as well as the statewide and nationwide averages, on Sunday, Oct. 22.

Nationwide gas prices averaged $3.55 on Sunday, while the average for Alaska was slightly more than $4.38, according to AAA’s price-tracking website. Bibb said even given the difference between the nationwide average and Juneau’s prices — and even the differing prices within Juneau — the cost of getting fuel here, the relative short commutes due to few roads and other considerations means motorists are still getting plenty of mileage out of their money.

”They might seem high, but the reality is how you get fuel to Juneau, and to your station and to your house, it’s amazing the amount of effort put into it,” he said. “Not to mention all the liabilities and everything else that goes into this business. So there’s no real reason to complain about fuel prices in my opinion.”

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

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