The Last Frontier

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bush Plane Fuel Delivery

Fuel Delivery - March 2011
Bush Fuel Delivery - March 2011

A few weeks ago we got our annual plane load of gas flown out to us. A load is 180 gallons. We used to go through just over 2 loads each year, but because the price of the gas and flying combined has doubled over the last six years, we have had to cut way back. We paid $1,040 for this last load! That sure wrecked the budget! When we called to schedule the flight the week before, it was $998, but they couldn’t work us into their schedule and we had to end up paying more because they’d just received their fuel at the inflated prices. They charge us the pump price, plus whatever their hourly rate is at the moment (depending on what he has to pay for plane fuel) for flying it out to us. Now the pump price is over $4 per gallon, and going up daily. I can just imagine what it will cost next year. I fully expect to have to get rid of internet, or only use it only for occasional emails.

In case anyone wonders how we get gas, we have four 55-gallon fuel drums. Chuck hauls them to the lake, one at a time on a sled hooked to the snow machine. The pilot had a fuel container custom made for his plane. He puts it into his plane, pumps fuel into it, flies the fuel to his customers, and used a pump to get it from his plane into fuel drums. We then siphon it from the drums into smaller gas jugs that are more manageable and haul the drums off the lake. It is much easier to handle the drums during the winter. Summer gas deliveries, when the fuel plane must land on floats, are difficult.


  1. Fuel is expensive here too. When we were in the Territory, we had to cart our petrol & deisel in 44 gallon drums in the back of our 4WD.
    Now we have solar power & just a small generator for back-up. We have added more solar panels, so hopefully we will get through winter without using the generator.
    Thinking of you out there.

  2. Ouch! And I thought our prices were high. Do you guys use solar for energy there? Don't suppose that works in the winter. It seems funny that you should have high gas prices in AK of all places, but is it because you don't have refineries?

  3. So what do you use the fuel for? The snowmobile and chainsaw.. and what else? Can you make your own bio diesel using fats or vegetable waste?

  4. Hi Jenny,
    Picked up upon your site from Le Loup's blog, hope that you don't mind if I tag along a while?

  5. Our internet connection has been awfully slow (less than 10kb/sec) and I've had trouble posting these comments and responding.
    Keith, I hope those extra solar panels help you through the winter. Now I sure do wish we'd gotten more. I think we should try to do that next fall. Our solar panels do very little in the winter, although some folks do have quite a setup, which is very helpful.
    Wendy, I'm not sure how it is set up now, but it used to be that North Slope oil all had to go "outside". I believe that some of the Cook Inlet oil goes to local refineries, but they keep their prices in line with the middle east oil. Sometimes I think Alaska should secede! The people never actually got to vote on Statehood, and if it weren't for all the federal jobs up here (more than the private sector), I think there were be many who would vote against statehood now. (Count me in! :-)
    Yes, Judy, we use the fuel for the snow machine, chainsaw, and to run the little generator to charge batteries for the internet modem when the solar panels and wind generator don't keep up. Chuck looked into bio diesel a little, but one problem is that we have very little waste fat or oils. He also said he doesn't think he has the skills to make a generator or whatever we'd need for it. I really don't know. He kind of wrote it off quickly when someone else suggested it. Maybe I'll look into it further to see if it's at all possible. I don't know if that would help for the snow machine and chainsaw, though, would it?
    John, thanks for stopping by. Very glad to have you along. Le Loup's blog is wonderful! I really enjoy it, too.

  6. Gas here goes for $6.50 a gal. Propane is about $200. I sure am glad I don't have a lot of modern amenities.

  7. Hi Jenny, thanks for the nice long comment! :) Yes, we are moving to MN, and for all the snow and cold they are having this year, it might as well be Antarctica, or even Alaska! Talk about one extreme to the other. God has a sense of humor. (I know you don't feel one bit sorry for me.)

    Re: Chocolate. I'd say you do very well to make a bag of Doves last three days once a year or less! Reaching into the bag is verbotten here also, but the kids always make me feel guilty enough that I have to grudgingly share it with them.

    My brother and his family are moving back to Alaska after four years away. They are very excited to be going "home". :)

  8. Hi, John. That's a lot. Even with the flying, it's less than that for us.

    Sally, I do feel for you moving to MN. Their winters can sure be harsh, and the Lower 48 had a mess this past winter. Seems that the worse it is there, the milder it is for us. We ended up with just over 13 ft. of snowfall, which is actually MUCH less than we normally get. It didn't even cover the alder patches until nearly a month ago so that Chuck could drive around and get firewood with the snow machine. So far the snow is holding out pretty good, and we still have about 4 feet of packed snow and ice on the ground. The Alders are just beginning to pop back up through the snow, but he's been able to haul logs for our new house this week.
    That's exciting about your brother and his family moving back to Alaska. Are they moving to Anchorage? Feel free to put them in contact with me if you like. It would be sort of like meeting you, almost! :-) Maybe you'll come visit! Hint, Hint. People either love Alaska and never want to leave (or can't wait to get back here if they do leave), or the hate it and count the minutes until they can get out. I knew the minute I set foot in Alaska during a blizzard that I was home.

  9. I have been following your blog for a bit now. I look forward to see what is happening and learning about your natural healing recipes. I will miss you if you have to leave blogging. Thanks for your willingness to share your life with us.


  10. I'll tell ya...from the posts I've read, it looks like absolute heaven, even with the hard work involved. I couldn't come close to convincing my girlfriend moving anywhere that remote, particularly as much as her hatred for snow goes. Luckily, Texas provides some degree of normalcy. Normal, as I define it, meaning it's big enough to not be covered in sky scrapers and having an abundance of nature.

  11. I'm going to be nosy :-) How do you make money for the gas? Does Chuck work out sometimes? Do you have a home business? I love learning about your life! Hope you can always afford gas for blogging :-)

  12. i fell great to have found this site i have been thinking to go off the grid and move to Alaska,i am from NYC.I have been searching for information the past months and was considering gasification as and alternative to spending money on fuel here is a link of one site
    Also i have some questions?
    1-How much do you pay for internet service how reliable is it.
    2-I have read that there companies that let you do online orders for food and equipment saves on the cost of paying a plane to get you in and out.
    3-I still don't know what i can do for income,i consider prospecting for gold but every site i have been to the advice me not to,I am not looking to get rich just enough to feed myself and maybe have internet.
    Thank you

  13. I just realized that I did not get back to these comments. Freedom Acres, yes, Chuck works as a hunting guide.

    Anonymous, it would be tough for someone from NYC to move to Alaska, let alone the bush right off the bat. I'd suggest getting out of the city and get used to country life for awhile, or move to a city in Alaska and learn about Alaska life first. Alaska is a whole different world (as is NYC).
    We have satellite internet. There are a few companies, and the prices vary. The big expense is purchasing the equipment and having it installed. Typically, the monthly charge is more expensive than regular cable/DSL, it is slower, and not as reliable.
    There are lots of places to order food and just about anything else online. They ship to Alaska and anyplace you like. If you are off the road system, and away from a village that has commercial air service or a post office, then you still pay to get the charter plane to fly your things to you. That's what we have to do. Many villages have mail service a time or two each week, and folks can pay a fairly small amount to ride into town on the plane.
    I know nothing about gold mining. Wish I did! :)
    Best wishes to you.

  14. You definitely have a cool delivery transpo! I’m sure your kids are thrilled to see this plane on your shores. Apart from being a private passenger plane, float planes are also ideal for delivering goods and supplies. The plane is lightweight so it can carry loads of cargo inside, but the gears and engine of this plane are pretty sturdy and reliable. It can survive harsh weather conditions and long flights.


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