By Steve Wehrly/Journal reporter
Jim Schuman decided in 2010 that he wanted someone else to answer complaints about the high price of fuel on San Juan Islands.
He didn’t have to look far. In fact, Schuman, then-owner of Island Petroleum Services, hired Adam Eltinge two years ago to take over some of the Schuman’s management responsibilities, and worked out a transition which resulted in Eltinge buying IPS in late 2012.
Eltinge has heard islander complaints about high fuel prices, but points to the high transport costs (diesel can be carried on the ferries, gas must be brought on the landing barge Henry Island) and the lower sales volumes as the reason for the prices. He’s more upset, however, about the future unavailability of ethanol-free fuel in Washington.
“It is a real shame that lawmakers put our residents in the position of not having ethanol-free fuel as an option,” Eltinge said. “All of those people who own older cars, small engines, and marine vessels are going to suffer the repair costs or a higher potential for breakdown.”
IPS has long been a supplier of fuel for cars and boats on San Juan Island, managing facilities on Carter Avenue and at the Friday Harbor fuel dock. They transport gas, diesel and home heating oil to their San Juan Island facilities, to Island Hardware on Orcas, and to Roche Harbor’s gas station and fuel dock.
The Carter Avenue location carries a wide variety of products — three grades of gasoline, three types of diesel (on-road, off-road and 20 percent biodiesel) ethanol-free gas (at least for another month or two), kerosene, heating oil, and a full line of Chevron oils, lubes and greases. One of the 24-hour gasoline pumps takes cash, and all the pumps give discounts for cash, debit and Shell card purchases.
Eltinge, 38, was born and grew up on Fox Island, and attended Gig Harbor High School. He attended Washington State University, where he majored in business and construction management, and worked for eight years for a residential real estate developer in the Redmond and Woodinville areas.
Eltinge is a regular racquetball player, relishing opportunities to take on local competition, like David Morton and former sheriff Bill Cumming.
His wife, Deanna Sundstrom Eltinge, who works for the Port of Friday Harbor, made returning to her San Juan Island roots one of the conditions for marrying him, a condition Adam was happy to make happen when they brought their two teenagers to the island and to the family farm in 2009. In 2010, Eltinge was hired as project manager for the Brickworks renovation, a position he relinquished when he went to work at IPS.