Tuesday, July 24, 2007 | 7:25 a.m.
One of the main reasons for comparatively higher gasoline prices here was described three years ago in an in-depth Las Vegas Sun story by reporter Steve Kanigher.
For decades the Las Vegas area has been receiving all of its refined gasoline and diesel fuel from a single 248-mile pipeline that originates about 55 miles east of Los Angeles and ends at a tank depot near Nellis Air Force Base in North Las Vegas.
The Sun story detailed how the slightest hiccup in the operation of California's aging refineries could send gasoline prices here soaring as our supply tightened.
An energy expert interviewed for the story offered some depressing information. She said she knew of no serious discussions to build a new pipeline for Las Vegas.
Today it is a different story.
A 300-mile pipeline to send gasoline and diesel to Las Vegas from a refinery in Salt Lake City is being planned by Dallas-based Holly Corp. and affiliate Holly Energy Partners, along with Sinclair Transportation Co., of Sinclair, Wyo.
Clearly, even with the growing and welcome supply of alternative fuels, a second source of automotive fuel is needed for the Las Vegas Valley. Most of the pipeline's route will be on land governed by the Bureau of Land Management, which will decide next year, after public hearings later this year, whether to issue a permit.
Additionally, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, the Houston company that operates the single gasoline and diesel pipeline from California, has received preliminary approval from federal regulators to build a second one to North Las Vegas. The pipeline would be laid in the same corridor as its existing one, which is also the route for a jet fuel pipeline operated by the company.
Providing that no major threats to the environment emerge as plans for the pipelines are finalized, we see them as good news for Southern Nevada. With both new pipelines in operation, possibly by 2010, there will be competition among gasoline suppliers as well as greater supply. This should mean some relief at the pumps.