Gasoline prices in Pahrump raise question

Gasoline prices are of concern to anybody who drives a vehicle, and thankfully the cost of fuel is finally dipping. Once in a while a reader has questions about the disparities in fuel prices, and we'll get to that in one minute. First here are some fun facts fresh from AAA's presses: With an average of $3.48 a gallon for regular gasoline, Sparks has the highest metropolitan prices in the state; North Las Vegas and Carson City have the lowest with an average of $3.36 a gallon. Now let's kick this off with Jim.

I recently drove through Pahrump and noticed the gas prices there are considerably lower than fuel prices here in Las Vegas. I thought rural communities had higher prices. Why would Pahrump of all places have lower prices than here in the valley?

Interesting question, Jim. We can only speculate, and here is why: We, the public, are not entitled to information such as the wholesale price that gas station owners pay for fuel. All we see is what is on their signs, which of course show the retail price. According to AAA, only the attorney general's office is privy to that information when a consumer files a formal complaint alleging a station owner is gouging.

But back to Pahrump. It is very possible that because so many Southern Nevadans commute regularly between the rural town and the Las Vegas Valley, Pahrump station owners simply are undercutting stations in the city. Anybody who has an opportunity to pay 20 cents a gallon less is going to take it. It does make one wonder how inflated our local prices are, doesn't it?

Lucille wants freedom on Fort Apache Road: I live behind Rhodes Ranch and take Fort Apache to Blue Diamond Road to get to work. Lately there has been quite a bit of construction at that intersection and one time Fort Apache was closed just short of Blue Diamond. Can you tell me what is going on?

The Nevada Department of Transportation embarked on a $8.7 million widening project in May, and the work is nearly complete. Between Red Rock Canyon and Durango Drive, Blue Diamond will be expanded from two lanes to four lanes in each direction. Raised medians and a bike lane are also part of the project.

While the crews were working, there were intermittent lane restrictions and closures on streets that intersect with Blue Diamond, which is also known as state Route 160.

Because of the chilly temperatures, the transportation agency was unable to mill the surface and lay down the final layer of asphalt on Blue Diamond. The road will remain two lanes until spring, when the weather warms and the road receives the top coat of asphalt.

Judy pines for a smoother commute: Are there any plans to repave East Desert Inn Road? The road is getting worse, with chunks of pavement missing and large cracks in the pavement. This street has picked up a lot of traffic going east and west in the last few years.

I realize that I, or at least the Clark County government, is beginning to sound like a broken record. Chalk it up to a sign of the awful economic times. The county realizes that East Desert Inn Road is in need of improvements, Judy, but it doesn't have the funding at this time to do the work. When the money becomes available, engineers have pegged Desert Inn between Mojave Road and Eastern Avenue as needing the most attention.

Henry would embrace a truckless freeway: Many cities, such as Atlanta, have interstate roads circling the city and require all truck traffic to bypass the city unless they have off-loads in the city. There are hefty fines for truckers who violate the rule. With such a rule here in Las Vegas, requiring trucks to take the Las Vegas Beltway around the city, it would greatly ease traffic through the city. Could that happen?

No, that will never happen, Henry. Interstate 15 is a federally designated commerce route. In fact from the Spaghetti Bowl to the state border all the way to the Canadian border was designated for moving goods by the North American Free Trade Agreement. Even if that were not the case, transportation officials say, the Beltway would not be suitable for large trucks.

In some areas, the road is still only two lanes, and there are also traffic signals controlling traffic.

Barry aims for mile markers: I was driving around the interstate systems in Las Vegas and noted that, with the exceptions of the exit signs, I would have no way to tell anyone where within a half-mile I was if my car broke down. There is no way to help unless I remember the last exit I was at or drive to the next one.

I'm not sure what to tell you, Barry. The Nevada Department of Transportation says that both Interstate 15 and U.S. Highway 95 both have mile markers throughout the Las Vegas Valley. In fact, the agency recently had to go fix one of them because it was inaccurate.

Clark County, which oversees nearly all of the Beltway, also has mile markers, county spokesman Dan Kulin said.

Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at or 702-387-2904.