Alaska Trends

The Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) is an Alaska icon. In many ways, building TAPS built Alaska’s economy, and the oil that’s traveled its length has provided funds for communities and individuals across the state for more than forty years. While every Alaskan knows at least a little something about TAPS, there’s a lot to know, so we’ve compiled some information here about the pipeline and the stories it has inspired.
Taps Fast Facts
Crosses 3 mountain ranges extends more than 800 miles
Air Temperature Range
-80°F to 95°F
Pipe Diameter
48 inches
Maximum Grade
145% or 55°
Number of Valves
Highest Elevation
4,739 feet
River and Stream Crossings
500 + 34 major
42 gallons per barrel
Taps &
Pop Culture
Pipe Dreams
Movie and song by Gladys Knight. This is the first film that uses the construction of TAPS as an essential part of its action. (1976)
On Deadly Ground
Featuring Steven Seagal and filmed on location in Valdez, this movie made Siskel and Ebert’s list of the ten worst movies of the year. (1994)
The Simpsons Movie
In this film, the Simpson family is treated with a $1,000 check upon entering Alaska and is told it’s a payoff from oil companies. (2007)
30 Days of Night
This vampire film features characters that are pipeline workers. (2007)
“The pipeline is also a central figure in many, many badly reviewed novels.”
~ Alyeska Pipeline Service Company
Haul Road
The 358-mile Dalton Highway that extends from the Yukon River to Prudhoe Bay was built by Alyeska in 1974.
Cost approximately
$125 million
Construction took
5 months and
3 million hours
Pig frequency
Smart pigs run every 3 years
Scraper pigs run every 6 days
In 2002, the pipeline withstood a 7.9 earthquake, the largest earthquake on the Denali Faultline since 1912.
Faults crossed by the pipeline
Denali, McGinnis Glacier, and Donnelly Dome