Alaska contributes a sizable percentage of the oil produced in the United States, but that doesn't mean that gas there is cheap. Not only are most refineries located half a continent away, some towns in Alaska are so isolated that transportation costs make up a large part of the overall price for everything available, including gas.

Nome, a town of around 3,500 people located on the coast of the Bering Sea, usually gets its supply of winter fuel in the form of a late-season barge carrying 1.6 million gallons of gas. This year, however, powerful storms hammered the town and stopped the progress of the fuel delivery. It's now unclear if there will be any additional fuel supplies over the winter. It's enough to make the Alaska high school student who carried out an electric conversion on his VW Beetle look very smart.

The only remaining way to deliver gas to the town is the same way that items are delivered in many isolated spots: by plane. As you would expect, flying in fuel adds considerably to its cost. The largest planes that can land in Nome over the winter could deliver 4,000 to 6,000 gallons per trip. Gas in Nome is already selling for $5.98 a gallon, and delivering more gas by plane could bring that price to $9 to $10 a gallon.

Cars are something of a rarity in Nome. The town is only about 5 miles from one end to the other and there is no highway access in winter. The major concern is the availability of fuel for emergency vehicles and for local taxi and bus services. With winter temperatures hovering at thirty below, sending kids on a five-mile walk to school isn't recommended.

Some residents of Nome may have to resort to the town's most famous form of transportation. Nome is the finish line for the annual Iditarod sled dog race, and people there also use snowmobiles and ATVs. The residents might have other options if crews get busy on that proposed tunnel linking the U.S. and Russia.

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